The City of Brotherly Love is FEELING it lately when it comes to the world of sports. After suffering for years it felt, with their best team coming in the form of the Flyers (maybe?) before the year of 2017. Since the year of 2017 has began, the Eagles have won the Super Bowl, the 76ers have completely turned it around and are among the best in the NBA now, the Flyers made the playoffs once again, and now it seems the Phillies have finally awoken from a long slumber, aka the end of the Rollins-Utley-Howard Era. Sure, Ryan Howard was there for a bit after they moved on, but he stunk. They have been waiting for a stroke of luck in Philly for dem Phillies to finally turn it around, and they seem to have finally got to that point.
The Phils were one of my choices in this past offseason to possibly be sneaky good and find them a playoff spot. Well right now, they LEAD the NL East division. Who woulda thunk? After starting off at the point where everyone wanted New Manager Gabe Kapler gone, they stayed with it to be 53-40, 1.5 games in front of the Braves for first. And while Kapler has been a fantastic new manager for year one, the players stepping up and playing to their full ability is the main reason they are where they are.
After a few years of decent to at times poor pitching, Aaron Nola has found that potential that everyone has been talking about for years now. It felt like he was just going to be that guy who would be a good middle of the rotation rather than ace, some of the reason they brought in Jake Arrieta to possibly help them have a top guy for this season. Well I don’t know what Nola has been doing, but he is either first or second in the NL Co Young race because his numbers are beyond phenomenal. Nola is 12-2 with 126 K and a top notch ERA of 2.27. He is more than locked in this season, and it feels that the Phillies who have been there for the past 4 years or so have just been waiting for this new direction all along.
Sure, Nola has been stellar, as he was one of those guys that just have been with this team for a bit and were the best guys on a very bad team. CF Odubel Herrera fits the mold as well. Odubel was blazing through the gates at the beginning of the season, and while his bat his cooled off a bit, he is 100% having his best season to date. Batting .277 with 16 HR and 52 RBI BEFORE the All-Star break is absolutely huge for Herrera. He has become a key cog for this team for the past few years now, and he has been a key contributor to them as they finally find success.
Adding leaders like Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta have really helped this team grow up and learn. This lineup, including Rhys Hoskins, has continued to find ways to help this team win. While Hoskins has dealt with injury this season, his power hitting self has managed to be a key cog in the lineup per usual. And in the pen, Seranthony Dominguez has developed into a lights out stopper at the end of games
And there is always something about the Phillies opposed to some other Philadelphia teams (excluding this past year’s Eagles). Usually, you don’t want to see much success from them, but the Phillies always have the ability to make you hope and enjoy watching them. When I was younger, I loved watching them anytime they played the Red Sox. As success returns to Philly, you just hope that they somehow manage to stay the course and make the playoffs. The rotation, the bullpen, and the lineup continue to defy the odds and be better than expected. Sometimes all a team needs is a new manager and a new direction. Now the Phillies show that more and more they may have something that clicks.
So here is to the Phillies, being one of the huge surprises in baseball ahead of the all-star break, and hoping that they can deliver down the stretch and make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Do you think the Phillies can make the playoffs? Or do you think they will fall off?
Regardless, let me know!
– Scott Edwards, Creator of WTF Sports