The Philadelphia Phillies decided they came to play on this west coast trip featuring the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two difficult teams to go up against that sport great pitching and lineups. However, the Phils managed to win a series in the “Coffee Capital of the World” and almost achieved a four-game series sweep in Hollywood for the first time in 37 years, but Corey Knebel blew the save. 


Unfortunately, these positive trends come with some more patience for reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper. On Sunday, Harper will be out of the lineup and receive a platelet-rich injection for a small UCL tear in his elbow. The earliest he will return to the lineup is game two of the Padres series at Citizens Bank Park, which starts on Tuesday. 


The positive is that Bryce will return to the lineup and keep launching balls out of the park. The flexibility of the DH spot will be reserved for him for the next month or longer, depending on when he will be able to throw again. 


Broad Street Bombers


Bryce Harper is the number one player in this Phillies lineup, firing on all cylinders despite an injury. Tough Philly athletes must be spilling over from Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid’s performance in the playoffs with a torn ligament, concussion, and broken face. Bryce Harper is currently 4th in the NL for hits, tied for first in HR and Doubles, and tied for third in RBIs. 


It is no wonder that former teammate and current Dodger shortstop Trea Turner “feels like he is the best player in the world.” As Phillies Phans, we cannot disagree with this sentiment. 


Rhys Hoskins is on a streak. Phillies Phans should be happy Rhys’ hot streak is now rather than later because these games count. After the last couple of weeks in Philly sports, every game is vital to all die-hard phans’ emotions and sanity. Over the past seven games, Hoskins has been 12/32 with four home runs, 10 RBIs, and a 1.144 OPS. 


The mean Jean Machine is hot and cranking homers, getting hits, and stealing bags like there is no tomorrow for the Phightin Phils. Jean is batting .409 with three homers, seven RBIs, three SB, and a 1.344 OPS. Jean and Bryce have been the offensive catalysts to this lineup, which is contagious. 


 The mounting runs the Phillies are putting on teams are due to Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm staying hot and hitting close to or over .300 during this west coast road trip. Moving Alec Bohm into the two-hole because of his high contact numbers gives Harper and Castellanos more RBI opportunities. If only Joe Girardi could stop putting Schwarber and Hoskins in the leadoff spot. 


Interchanging Bohm and Segura at the leadoff would be optimal to give more RBI opportunities. Hoskins and Schwarber thrive in the 5, 6, or 7 spots. Schwarber is still hitting home runs, but his average is still below .200. Schwarber will need to figure out hitting in Girardi’s lineup or hope he hits a hot streak to get over the Mendoza line. 


Phightin’ Pitching 


The Phillies’ pitching is locked in, powered behind the offensive onslaught the lineup has provided them in recent games. Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, and Kyle Gibson compete and pitch further into games. The Spring Training buildup seems to be wearing off, and they are getting into prime form for the season.  


The most impressive performance is the return of Bailey Falter in the starting pitching role. Falter came up on short notice due to the Zach Eflin and Zack Wheeler Covid-19 IL report right before the west coast trip. Girardi plans for him to keep lengthening out with the Triple-A squad. So, if anything injury-related happens in the future, the Phils will have a reliable arm to use. 


The starters have given up quite a few runs here and there, and the bullpen has been shaky at times. Jose Alverado and Jeurys Familia are locating their pitches poorly. They both have been lit up by hitters recently. Caleb Cotham needs to work with them to focus on control rather than velocity with their late-game relief opportunities. 


The Phillies’ closer Corey Knebel could not shut the door on his former team. He gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies will leave this road trip with a 5-2 record, but they are back down to a game below .500. 


Players to Watch Going Forward


Garrett Stubbs is the backup catcher the Phillies always needed. The Phillies have had to overwork and rely on J.T. Realmuto for the past few years, but now they have a capable backup to the Best Catcher in Baseball. In this road series, Stubbs hit .500 with an RBI and one SB and nailed a tag-out in today’s game. 

Mickey Moniak seems to be getting back into form! Manager Joe Girardi projects him getting regular hitting and fielding reps by the end of the month. So, hopefully, an end of May return for the former first overall pick for the Phils. 

The Phillies need to keep up the hot bats and plucky pitching to get past the Mets by the end of the month. Maybe Moniak and Bryce Harper returning to the lineup by Tuesday.


Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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