Hey, the Phillies Have a Winning Record
When Jeanmar Gómez struck out Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning last night, the Phillies got something they hadn’t had in a really long time: A winning record.
The Phillies lost 99 games last year, but they actually started last season 3-2. But the last time they were over .500 this late in the season was early May 2014, when they were 15-14.
Amazingly, so far this season the Phillies have been led by their pitching. Last night, Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out 8 and allowing just 2 hits. The Phils won, 3-0. Hellickson is 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA. Vincent Velasquez, who struck out 16 in just his second start with the Phillies, is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA. Even Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff, two young pitchers with ERAs over 4, have been pretty good.
The bullpen, despite some very high-profile blown saves in the first week, has been even better. Gómez has allowed 3 runs in 12 innings. Hector Neris has allowed just 1 run in 12 innings. Dalier Hinojosa has allowed 4 runs in 9.1 innings.
The offense has been anemic at times, but two players have been great. Odubel Herrera, now installed as the leadoff hitter, is hitting .290. He’s also walked 21 times already this season, a complete change in approach to his game; last season, he walked just 28 times all season. He’s 75 percent of the way there less than a month into the year. His commitment to plate discipline has paid off.
Farther down in the order, there’s Maikel Franco. He had the game-winning hit in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Nationals, and is hitting .289 with 5 homers and 14 RBI.
And how about Carlos Ruiz? Now primarily a backup, the catcher hit his third homer of the season last night in the Phillies’ win.
The Phillies are just 11-10. They are not that good. But they’ve been fun. It looked like it would be a long season after they started 0-4. Now: The future of the team is looking brighter and brighter every day.
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