The month of April has finally ended, and with it, one of the weirdest first months of baseball. From new rules being worked out to ERA’s skyrocketing, the year started lost for Philadelphia. At one point, Philadelphia sat 0-4 allowing 37 runs in the first 4 games, something they had not done since 1931. And then, things started to click. Since then, Philadelphia has won 4 straights series, finishing the month with a winning record of 15-14.
Let’s examine 2 of the bright spots of the first month of the 2023 season as the Phillies will need it to continue their playoff push.
The DayCare is Forreal
Brandon Marsh, Bryson Stott, and Alec Bohm have been phenomenal to start. The Phillies were absolutely depending on all 3 to hold their own this season and that is exactly what they have done. Not only do their numbers look good, but their Statcast spider-charts seem to back up the data that shows this may not just be a fluke. Stott started the season with a hit in 17 straight games, setting the Phillies record for most games with a hit to start a season. He finishes April with a .317 average and a .344 OBP. Alec Bohm leads the Phillies in RBI’s as he continues to show improvement in plate discipline as well as versatility in the field, filling in at 1B as the team has battled injury. Brandon Marsh has been otherworldly, leading the team in multiple stat categories including a .324 average, a .414 OBP and a shocking .647 slugging percentage. This team will absolutely rely on the young guns to continue to produce while Trea Turner, JT Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber look to break out of their slumps.
The Bullpen is Back
Something I’ve written about at length is the lack of success the Phillies have had at times throughout the years in the bullpen. Unfortunately, this year started out as badly as one could imagine, with the Phillies bullpen posting a preposterous 7.19 ERA over their first 15 games (considered one of the worst starts in MLB history). But since, this group has been electric.
Over the past 14 games, Gregory Soto, Jose Alvarado, and company have posted an MLB best .083 era. This bullpen blew 2 saves early and since have been absolutely stellar, currently in second in bullpen success rate. The recent call up, Luis Ortiz has pitched brilliantly, with 0 walks and 9ks in 8innings. Also, can we talk about Jose Alvarado? This guy has been downright unhittable for the past year, facing 62 straight batters without allowing a walk.
The King is Returning
I can’t be the only person to be thinking that Bryce Harper is a cyborg, can I? 159 days ago, Bryce Harper went under the knife for Tommy John surgery, filling Philadelphia fans with optimism for a return around August; July if we were lucky…. Well Philadelphia fans…. Lucky we are! Bryce Harper, Philadelphia fans lord and savior, is returning to the lineup on May 2nd, 159 days after surgery, setting an MLB record for the fastest recovery time from Tommy John surgery.
The even crazier part? Bryce won’t be taking a minor league rehab assignment, opting for facing live Phillies pitchers who are currently rehabbing such as Ranger Suarez and Nick Nelson as both Bryce and Kevin Long found this practice to be more useful than spending time against lower-level pitching. Bryce is gassed up for his return to the lineup on Tuesday where he is expected to DH for the first month before filling in at First Base. And in true Bryce Harper fashion, he set Philadelphia blogs on fire with his Instagram Post today asking fans “Aye Pham. You Ready?” Yes we are Bryce, Yes we Are.