Yes, I know it has been a while. Frankly, the Phillies were a frustrating team for a couple of weeks and I decided to focus on the Eagles and the Sixers. But now, we are back. How about those Sixers by the way?
In the dreaded stadium of the Miami Marlins, the Phillies were able to salvage a series split. Normally against a team of the Marlins caliber, this would be disappointing. But with the Phillies constant struggles against Miami, anything more then a series loss is a positive in my book. We'll get into that and more in today's series recap.
The Emergence of Rhys Hoskins
After a hot start to the 2021 campaign, Rhys Hoskins went into a slight cold streak around the same time that the whole offense started to struggle. But now that he is the real lone star left in this lineup, he almost singlehandedly propelled the Phillies to both their wins this series. On Tuesday Night, the Phillies had two hits. A single from Jean Segura, and then a 2 run bomb from Rhys the next at bat. Today, Rhys had a solo shot early which ended up being one of the Phillies 3 runs. He has batted .333 over his last 7 games with 7 hits, 3 Home Runs and 8 RBIs. With the incredible injury bug going around this team currently, the Phillies needed guys to step up for them to make up some slack in the NL East. Rhys has been that, and we can only hope that he will not go into another cold stretch with some big series coming up.
As just mentioned, the Phillies have been destroyed by injuries over the past week and a bit. Starting with Didi Gregorius, who was placed on the injured list with an elbow injury almost 10 days ago. According to Joe Girardi, he cannot even fully swing a bat yet, which would probably mean he will not be ready anytime soon. I'd say the play of Nick Maton has shadowed how important Didi really is to this team. Then JT Realmuto, who had been placed on the injured list on May 21st after not playing for four games straight. The Phillies were confident that Realmuto would be ready for the series opener against Boston, but after experiencing discomfort during batting practice the Phillies shut him down. Finally Bryce Harper, who was in the middle of a complete organizational failure on the Phillies part. After most fans noticed that Bryce Harper seemed off, Girardi insisted that Harper was ok and no injury was there. But Harper had a few rest days, and then was placed on the IL on May 25th. Girardi insisted that his explanations to the media were purely tactical to throw off other managers. Really? This is freaking Bryce Harper. You really think MLB pitchers would pitch any different to him if they knew he had a hand injury? The answer is no. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems to me that there is some strange disconnect from the ownership to Girardi. Maybe even that they are telling him to say certain things to the media. We'll never know I guess. Just done so poorly by the whole organization. My final point on the injuries is that Philadelphia has to get healthy soon, as a lineup you may be able to get by with against the Marlins wont go by the Yankees and the Braves.
Ranger Suarez's Return
Who could have seen this coming? Not me. Since returning to the majors, Suarez has a 0.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work this season. It seems that he has completely taken David Hale's former role(thank the lord) for now. He has been especially helpful for when the starting pitcher does not go far into the game, as he can give you 2-3 innings of perfection in the middle innings. The next step for me would be maybe having him start a game or two, only if the schedule messes with the rotation and they need a 6th guy. I really hope he continues this work because it has just been huge for this team.
Vince Velasquez?, Spencer Howard and Hector Neris
There was not enough space to do an individual section on each of these guys, but I want to speak on them so I'll spill my thoughts out here. I can't believe what I'm seeing from Vince Velasquez. After the first few starts I was thinking, "Alright Vince, that was two games but you'll collapse after this". But he hasn't. Vince has a 2.95 ERA(higher then Aaron Nola by .99) and 45 strikeouts in 8 games started this season. Vinny V has locked in the 4th spot in the rotation, which is not something I thought I would be saying in May. The most intriguing Phillies topic this week, besides from the Harper debacle, was probably the call up of Spencer Howard to start a game against Boston. Spencer started off great in his 1st start, but then experienced a velocity dip and started to struggle immensely. His 2nd start was flawless until he loaded the bases in the 5th inning and was replaced by Ranger Suarez. The question is, what do we do from here? I say you give him another start. The reason being that he deserves more than two starts to judge his skill, and he has shown flashes of talent. You also really do not have any other option there, unless you grab Chase Anderson back out of the bullpen to start.
Oh and Hector? All I need to say is that he is still underrated. Keep Sleeping. 2.08 ERA.
The Phillies have a much needed rest day tomorrow before a series against the hottest team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.