As the season has progressed, the Phillies still have not played to their potential. After years of “rebuilds” and September collapses, they finally got into the playoffs.
After missing out on postseason baseball for a decade, it felt like the Phillies of old were back.

Early Struggles

The off-season addition of Trea Turner added a whole new level of excitement coming into the season. The Phillies were supposed to build off their trip to the World Series, not revert back to their old ways.

Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Instead, we once again find ourselves in an uphill battle against the other NL East powerhouses. The Phillies sit at fourth in the division and are already eight games back of first place. A lot needs to change. There is no reason this team should have a worse record than the Marlins. Both sides of the ball need to pick it up. The offense has been able to get guys on base but are failing to score runs. Despite ranking 4th in batting average (.266) and 5th in hits (321), they rank 18th (150) in runs and 16th in home runs (38). Philadelphia has to start capitalizing when they get guys on base.

Even though the offense has its struggles, the starting pitching staff needs to pitch better if this ball club has a chance at making it back to the playoffs. The rotation has an average era of 4.82, which is poor. Both Phillies aces have gotten off to slow starts, and Wheeler and Nola are a combined 5-4 with five no-decisions. Wheeler has a 4.26 era, while Nola is sporting a 4.64 era. It will be hard for the Phillies to compete if these two don’t pitch better.

Injuries have also held back the rotation. Philadelphia started the season missing both Ranger Suarez and Andrew Painter. Relying on Falter, Straham, and Walker is a dangerous game, and it hasn’t paid dividends. The Phillies’ season is already hanging in the balance, and its success relies on its starting pitching. The return of Suarez will provide instant relief for this rotation. Not only will Ranger move back into the rotation, but Straham can move to relief, providing extra support in the bullpen. However you look at this team, the return of Suarez can’t come soon enough. 

Return of Ranger

The Phillies starting rotation is killing the team thus far, but not all is lost. There is positivity to be had with this group. Despite the early season struggles, the Phillies are still right in the playoff race, and they sit two games behind the Padres for the final wildcat spot.

Not only that, but the much-anticipated return of Ranger Suarez appears to be coming this weekend.

Could this be the start of turning the season around?

Featured Image: Rich Schultz/Getty Images
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