May 25, 2018
The Phillies head into the holiday weekend as one of the surprises of the MLB season so far. At 28-19, they're a half game behind the Braves for the NL East lead and have the third-best record in the entire National League.
That's right, the Phillies.
Last weekend, we took a look at whether or not the Phillies are as good as their record indicates — spoiler alert: it seems like they are — and we haven't seen anything in the interim to indicate otherwise.
They play host to the Blue Jays this weekend before embarking on a 10-game road trip that isn't going to be easy: four games against the Dodgers, followed by three in San Francisco, and then three against the Cubs in Chicago on the way back home. And if they survive that, they'll be rewarded with six games (two three-game sets) in 10 days against the Brewers, the team with the best record in the NL (31-20).
The next few weeks should provide a nice test for the Phillies, and after this stretch, we may know just a little bit more about how close they actually are to contending.
In the meantime, here's a look at where the Phillies found themselves on this week's MLB power rankings:
Over at CBSSports.com, Matt Snyder has been high on the Phillies for a few weeks now. And in his weekly power rankings, he took a look at a trio of NL teams and whether or not that had "staying power." In other words, can we expect to see them this high in the standings when September comes?
And while he has the Braves ahead of the Phillies in his rankings, he wouldn't be surprised if that changes before too long.
Contrasting from the Braves, though, everything hasn't really gone as great as it could have. Carlos Santana should hit better. Rhys Hoskins is capable of picking up the power. Aaron Altherr and Scott Kingery are also capable of playing better. Odubel Herrera likely needs to come back to Earth a little, but others getting better will mitigate that...
In a way, it's funny to say this, but given that the Phillies have so many areas where their talent level should be performing better, it actually gives me more optimism than the Braves. I really like this team. They have staying power. [cbssports.com]
As for his rankings, he had the Phils up three spots from No. 9 last week...
They're real, and they're close to spectacular. [cbssports.com]
6. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Week: 10
Philly is 11-6 in May and breathing down the neck of the National League East-leading Braves. Those two clubs met Monday for the first of three somewhat crucial late-May games and the Phillies won 3-0 behind a combined shutout by Nick Pivetta, Seranthony Dominguez, and Hector Neris. Pivetta boasts a 3.23 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 60/12 K/BB ratio in 53 innings (10 starts) this season. Dominguez, a highly-ranked 23-year-old relief prospect, has allowed just one hit over 7 2/3 scoreless innings since his promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 7. Pitching is leading the way for the Fightin’ Phils. Who would’ve thought? [sports.yahoo.com]
7. Philadelphia Phillies
Week 6 ranking: 9
Mike Foltynewicz and Nick Pivetta will face off Monday for the fourth time this season. On Tuesday, Brandon McCarthy and Vince Velasquez will do the same, a fourth meeting. Elias Sports Bureau research tells us the last time two pitchers faced off for a fourth time in a team's 46th game or earlier was on May 31, 1959, when Lew Burdette faced Robin Roberts in the Braves' 44th game and the Phillies' 45th game. And the kicker: Elias says that since 1900, there have not been two pairs of starting pitchers (within the same team vs. team matchup) to face each other four times by Game 50 or earlier for both teams. -- [Sarah] Langs [espn.com]
After they surprisingly didn't move up in last week's rankings, the Phillies were big risers over at USA TODAY, where they climbed eight spots.
7. Philadelphia Phillies (+8)
Odubel Herrera's on-base streak ends at 45, but he still leads NL in batting (.344). [usatoday.com]
7. Philadelphia Phillies (27-19; last week: 8)
Manager Gabe Kapler has found his stride and it’s showing in the results. He was roundly criticized for his bullpen management early in the season, but has found success sticking to his unconventional methods. It helps when you have late-inning relievers as talented as Seranthony Dominguez and Hector Nerris. [sports.yahoo.com]
Another nice bump for the Phillies, who were 12th in Alyson's rankings last week.
7. Phillies [mlb.com]
Are the Phillies in everyone's Top 10 now? They were 13th over at B/R last week...
10. Phillies [bleacherreport.com]
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