June 12, 2019
After a rough week that saw the Phillies not only lose games, but lose Andrew McCutchen for the season, the last seven days have gone considerably better for the hometown club, as they went 4-2 on the week thanks to a big lift from the newest Phillie and reigning National League Player of the Week, Jay Bruce.
Since joining the Phillies, Bruce has hit .379 in eight games and has given the offense a much needed power boost, hitting five home runs, a pair of doubles and knocking in 13 runs and scoring eight.
That being said, there's still a lot of work left to be done if the Phillies hope to beat out the Braves in the NL East, especially after Atlanta added starter Dallas Keuchel last week. The Braves have already passed the Phillies in at least one of the below power rankings and have moved into a tie for the division lead.
Despite their red-hot play, CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder still thinks the Phillies are the second-best team in the National League, behind the Dodgers, of course. In addition to his regular power rankings this week (you can see those below), Snyder also did a separate ranking of the top NL teams after Los Angeles. Here's what he had to say about the 38-29 Phillies:
They've been in first place pretty much throughout the season and have mostly been consistently good. The offense has lots of talent with Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and Bryce Harper leading the way. After losing Andrew McCutchen, however, they have a center-field problem. There's also talent in the rotation, but are Aaron Nola (4.63 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (4.29) going to pitch better? The back-end of the bullpen could stand to be settled in front of Hector Neris, too, with David Robertson hopefully coming back in July.
I definitely like the Phillies to remain in contention the rest of the way and feel like they're a playoff team, but there are legitimate concerns. [cbssports.com]
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but that's understandable given that they are just 5-5 since the beginning of June, while the Braves are 8-2 over that same span. We'll get some clarity soon enough, however, as the Phillies travel to Atlanta on Friday for a weekend series against the Braves.
Now, let's take a look at the rest of the power rankings...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|8 (+1)||Jay Bruce is certainly enjoying life back in the NL East after a brief sojourn to the AL West, and he should continue to play regularly in left field and supply power numbers after Andrew McCutchen was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Phillies might have initially acquired Bruce for a part-time role, but the situation quickly changed, as Bruce seems well on his way to his sixth 30-homer campaign.|
|7 (--)||Bryce Harper is pretty firmly above average in terms of on-base percentage and slugging. His salary for this season is less than $12 million. Can we stop it with the "he's getting paid $330 million to hit .251" takes? That's really weak and dumb. Bet on Harper to have more hot streaks and a big second half.|
|8 (--)||The Phillies sit atop the NL East with the Braves closely behind. The good thing for Philly: It still doesn’t feel like we’ve seen this team at its best.|
|6 (-2)||Jay Bruce hit four homers in his first four games with Phillies.|
|7 (-1)||Aaron Nola had a very good May, pitching to a 2.73 ERA and allowing 10 runs over six starts. In two June starts, Nola has already allowed nine runs in 12 innings. Philadelphia is going to need Nola to be the May and 2018 Nola if the Phillies want to hold off the next team on this list.|
|7 (-2)||Jerad Eickhoff served up back-to-back-to-back home runs to the first three batters he faced in Monday night's 13-8 loss to the Diamondbacks. The two teams combined for an MLB-record 13 home runs in that one. To put a positive spin on it, Jay Bruce stayed hot with his fifth home run in seven games since the Phillies acquired him from the Mariners on June 2...|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game(s) into account.]