Philadelphia Phillies Have Won 6 Straight Games After Sweeping the Nationals and Indians
If I said a month ago that the Philadelphia Phillies would be 5 games above .500 and one of the hottest teams in baseball by May 1, you probably would’ve thought I was lying. After an 0-4 start, however, that’s exactly where we stand. The Phillies just completed their second consecutive sweep (for the first time in 4 years), this time over the Cleveland Indians, to push their win streak to 6 games, capping a 15-6 run.
Being a Phillies fan, I entered this season with very low expectations knowing they were fully in rebuilding mode. While most expected them to be among the worst in baseball, the one thing I knew to expect was unpredictability. This team consists of young players trying to stake their claim in the majors, journeymen and potential future stars. With a roster like that, there are sure to be many highs and lows.
The season started with an 0-4 record, despite getting great production from the starting rotation that entered the season with expectations as low as the public opinion of LeBron James following “the Decision.” Speaking of low, the combined ERA of the Phils’ rotation after 10 games was 2.12, best in the majors. In spite of the pitching excellence, a combination of ineffective bats and a struggling bullpen led to a record below .500. The pitching has cooled a bit, but the bats have come alive and the team has struck somewhat of a balance.
After sweeping MLB’s best team in Washington, they came home to face the Cleveland Indians. Friday night, Ryan Howard blasted a walk-off home run in extra innings. In addition to that, they got the winning run off the broken bat of Freddy Galvis in the 7th inning on Saturday. Sunday afternoon was delayed a bit due to rain, but pitcher Vincent Velasquez (4-1) seemed undeterred as he delivered another strong performance, going 6 scoreless innings while surrendering only two hits.
Will the Phillies’ Success Continue?
The real question at this point is whether or not the Phillies can sustain this success. Personally, I don’t believe they will, but I also don’t think they will be the dumpster fire that many expected. I would expect to see them hover around the .500 mark, deviating plus or minus a few games here and there.
Ultimately, I see them finishing somewhere along the lines of 83-79. I do not expect them to be in the playoff discussion this season, but this early success is certainly promising for the future of the franchise. After several years of general manager Reuben Amaro Jr. resisting a rebuilding phase, new GM Matt Klentak has the team moving in the right direction.
The light at the end of the tunnel seems a bit brighter than originally expected.
(Philadelphia Phillies Have Won 6 Straight Games)