No doubt about it, the Phillies should be buyers before the trade deadline
Major League Baseball always does a great job with their All-Star break festivities. JT Realmuto will be starting behind the plate tonight for the National League team. Zack Wheeler will join him as a member of the pitching rotation. With the exception of tonight’s main event, this week gives us time to figure out what the hell is going on with the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the last decade, that has been anything but an easy task.
The Phillies entered the All-Star break playing their best baseball of the season. They have won seven of their last 10 games and finished the first half of the season on a 5-2 road trip, taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox. They are now back at .500 and 3.5 games out of first place behind the NL East leading New York Mets.
According to Power Rankings Guru, The Phillies have played the third hardest schedule over the first half of the season. They have also played the most difficult schedule among teams that are .500 or better so far this year. After the All-Star break, the Phillies will have the easiest schedule in Major League Baseball to close out the season. Focusing on just games before the Trade Deadline, the Phillies will play 14 games, 12 of which will be at Citizens Bank Park against divisional opponents.
Over the last seven games, the offense has come alive for the Phillies. They averaged 8+ runs per game on their seven game road trip to close out the first half of the season. Their bullpen, (knock on wood) hasn’t blown a save in nine games. You think that’s not significant, but it is. Ranger Suarez has taken over closer duties and sent the Phillies into the break with a beautiful save in Boston. On the year, the Phillies have blown 22 saves, putting them just three away from a franchise record. To put that into perspective, no other team in Major League Baseball has more than 16 blown saves.
Over the last month, the Phillies have increased their odds in winning the NL East by almost 18% according to Baseball Reference. I can’t believe I’m even writing this, but they are also favorites to win the NL East with nearly a 10% advantage on the New York Mets. That being said, Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld will know exactly what to do at the deadline after seeing what the Phillies do in two weeks after the All-Star break.
This team now has two weeks to prove to management that they are in fact, contenders before the deadline. They will return to play on Friday with a double header against the Miami Marlins. After a four game series with the Fins, they will head to New York to play two games against a mediocre Yankees team. From there, they welcome the Braves and Nationals to Citizens Bank Park, which takes us right into the trade deadline and a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates heading into August.
The Phillies are 24-16 at home this season and 20-28 on the road. During the second half of the season, 41 of 72 games will be played at home. The key to winning is offensive and bullpen consistency.
The Phillies are buyers. There’s no other way to look at it. For a team that is in a terrible playoff drought, the Phillies have to go all-in this year when they have a team that is at least contending and I believe they will do just that.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Phillies