May 15, 2019
Believe it or not, we're more than a quarter of the way through the 2019 MLB season. And while the Phillies have had some ups and downs to this point in the schedule, they're exactly where fans had hoped they would be in mid-May: in first place in the National League East.
Currently the Phillies (24-17) are 3.5 games clear of the rest of their division and are the only team in the East over .500 on the season. They also have the third-best winning percentage in the National League (.585), behind only the Cubs (.641) and Dodgers (.636). And that's been done in spite of several injuries to key players, a sub-par start from staff ace Aaron Nola, and a slumping Bryce Harper (although we probably should've seen that coming).
Baseball seasons are long, and weird, and the Phillies still have 121 games to play in 2019. In other words, a lot can happen between now and when the playoffs begin in October. That includes the July 31 trade deadline, when the Phillies could find themselves buying if they stay in serious contention for the next two months — and there's every reason to believe they will.
After going 5-2 over the last week, the Phillies found themselves climbing, if only slightly, in most of the national power rankings out there. Let's take a look at where the team currently ranks through the first quarter of the MLB season...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|6 (--)||A tip of the cap to Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin on his four-hit shutout against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.|
|7 (+1)||The Phillies sit atop the NL East as the rest of the teams in the division try to sort themselves out. The Phillies aren't the perfect team, but offensive inconsistencies that hurt them earlier in the season seem to be alleviated now. They're top 10 in baseball in runs per game, even though Bryce Harper hasn't hit his stride in a Phillies uniform just yet...|
|9 (+2)||In looking at the personnel, I can't help but think the offense should be much better. And yet, they still have a three-game lead in the NL East.|
|8 (+1)||Leading the division even with Bryce Harper's struggles.|
|10 (+2)||The Phillies haven’t lost a series since late April, and looked quite good last week taking two of three against the Royals and Cardinals. For all the Bryce Harper talk, it’s Rhys Hoskins who has been killin’ it this year with 11 homers, 35 RBIs and a great .415 on-base percentage.|
|10 (--)||The Phillies come home from their Missouri trip with ace Aaron Nola scheduled to face the Brewers and Rockies, teams hitting significantly better and more than normal, in home games. Nola appears to have regained his ace-level status, posting a 1.47 ERA over his past three outings, with one home run allowed. In his first five starts, his ERA was 6.84 with seven homers allowed.|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game into account.]