The Phillies came into the 2022 season expecting to be a top-flight offense. Six games into the season, they’ve been mediocre. Through six games, they’re averaging 4.2 runs per game. Bryce Harper has arguably been the most disappointing of the entire lineup at this point. After they lit up Oakland on Opening Day, they scored 4, 1, 5, 0, and 6. Take the six with a grain of salt because that game was already over when the offense finally started hitting the ball. That’s not getting it done when your starters are still getting stretched out.
The concern is not really huge at the moment. Bryce Harper was dealing with some soreness in his right elbow after making a throw from right field to home plate. That may or may not have played a role in Joe Girardi’s decision to DH him the following night. The concern should be the number of strikeouts. Harper has eight strikeouts in 21 at-bats and it looks like he just can’t buy a hit right now. Hopefully, it’s just a cold streak and Bryce heats up soon. He hit a home run yesterday which hopefully gets him started, but that ball barely got out in left field.
Kyle Schwarber, who was brought in to be an on-base guy at the top of the lineup while providing power from the left side, is hitless since Opening Day. Schwarber signed a four-year, $79m dollar deal with the Phillies during Spring Training. The offense can’t get going if the guy at the top is not getting on base. It’s simple.
JT Realmuto is starting to get going now, which is big for the Phillies because their one-through-four hitters are hitting .200 on the nose and getting on base at a clip of .310. They have also struck out a total of 29 times in six games. If you take Castellanos out of that equation, the average drops to .156 (10/64) and the OBP drops to .281.
For a group that is being paid over $90m annually (which rises by the way), a collective .200 average and .310 OBP is just not acceptable. One of the main reasons the Phillies have been able to start 3-1 (yes, they’re 3-3 now), is because of contributions from guys like Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm. Neither of those two have been good in the field, but both have started really well at the plate. Another guy who offensively is going to fly below the radar is Bryson Stott. Stott had an RBI single off Max Scherzer to give the Phillies some life in yesterday’s game. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t really matter because the pitching was awful.
Hopefully, this is just a case of it being early in the season and these guys’ timing is a tick off. The high number of strikeouts is a pretty good indicator of that. It is also weird if that is the case because they all had a pretty good Spring Training.
The bottom line here is that if the Phillies’ stars don’t pick it up soon, the Phillies could be playing catch up in a division that features the reigning World Series champions, who might be even better this year, and the Mets, who actually look legit. It’s a dangerous game to play, especially if Aaron Nola still can’t control his fastball and Zack Wheeler can’t go more than five or six for another week or two.