More Sports:

June 17, 2024

MLB power rankings roundup: Phillies slip a bit after rough series vs. Red Sox, Orioles

The Phillies' starting pitching, their greatest strength all season so far, got lit up this past week by the Red Sox and Orioles.

Phillies MLB
Zack-Wheeler-Exit-Phillies-Orioles-MLB-6.16.24.jpg Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports

Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola both got hit around this past week.

The Phillies came back from London losing J.T. Realmuto for around a month, then having their pitching knocked around by the Red Sox and Orioles

They still have the safety net of an eight-game lead over the Braves in the NL East entering Monday night, but they've lost four of their last six and no longer have baseball's best record.

Brutal week. Here's how it reflects in the latest wave of MLB power rankings... 2nd

The Phillies' greatest strength to this point in the season has been their starting pitching. Zack Wheeler has been one of the clear-cut NL Cy Young candidates in the early going, Aaron Nola kept eating up innings with noticeably better consistency, Ranger Suárez took a huge leap, Cristopher Sánchez made one himself, and Spencer Turnbull had a nice run for a bit before handing the spot over to Taijuan Walker – who isn't exactly wowing but has shown signs of trending forward. 

For a good while, the Phillies' starters were piling up quality start after quality start, where if they weren't shutting opposing lineups down, they were at least controlling situations enough to where the bats had a chance. 

It was absurd. But then the Phils came back from London and might have hit their first wall of 2024. 

Wheeler put up seven stellar innings against the Red Sox, but then Nola and Sanchez both got lit up, and after Suárez battled to 6.2 innings against an Orioles club that didn't make it easy, Baltimore eventually got to Walker and then jumped on Wheeler.

It was a brutal week, probably not helped by the fact that Realmuto isn't behind the plate to make the calls. 

Wrote Will Leitch:

The Phillies returned from London for two road series on the East Coast vs. AL East teams, and it’s fair to say the Phillies didn’t have a very good time. They lost two of three to both the Red Sox and the Orioles, and the issue was the pitching: They gave up 35 runs in six games, with both Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola getting knocked around on the trip. They’ll get some good news this week: The return of Trea Turner from the injured list. []

ESPN: 2nd

ESPN publishes their power rankings on Thursdays, so this was before the Orioles series, but the core point David Schoenfield made about the Phils still held true: They're really going to miss J.T.Realmuto over the next month. 

Wrote Schoenfield:

J.T. Realmuto will miss about a month after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. That timetable sets up a possible return after the All-Star break, if everything goes well, and pushes backup Garrett Stubbs into the starting role. While Stubbs hit well as the backup in 2022, he has struggled at the plate the past two seasons -- obviously in limited duty since Realmuto plays so often. Rafael Marchan, who played briefly for the Phillies in 2020 and 2021, was called up to back up Stubbs, and Marchan is a defense-first catcher. The Phillies' offense already was struggling in June as compared to April and May, so without much offense expected now from their catchers, others will have to step up. [ESPN]
Hopefully, Trea Turner's expected return Monday night helps in that regard, especially since he can occupy the No. 2 spot in the batting order, which can slide a mightily struggling Nick Castellanos further down. 

CBS Sports: 3rd

The Phillies slid down two spots to third on CBS' board, now trailing the Orioles and Yankees. 

Again, getting Trea Turner back is a plus, but now that will come at the cost of sitting Edmundo Sosa back down, who has been phenomenal filling in at shortstop in the interim.

Can Sosa play outfield? Matt Snyder does wonder:

With Trea Turner returning, they need to make room elsewhere for Edmundo Sosa to stay in the lineup, given how good he's been. Maybe an outfield corner spot with starts at second base sprinkled in? [CBS Sports]

Maybe have to wonder too now if Sosa's performance over the last month has built up his trade value, which might help the Phillies come deadline time late next month. 

Bleacher Report: 3rd

The Phillies are trailing the Orioles and Yankees in Bleacher Report's rankings as well. 

Joel Reuter notes that while the Phils did keep chugging along with baseball's best record up until this past week, they were quietly sliding into a stretch of .500-level play, which is now starting to show. 

Wrote Reuter:

The Phillies fell to 10-10 in their last 20 games following Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Orioles. And while they still look like, arguably, the most complete team in baseball, their middling play of late is enough to knock them out of the No. 1 spot. Shortstop Trea Turner will be activated from the injured list on Monday, and he was hitting .343/.392/.460 through 148 plate appearances at the time of his hamstring injury. [B/R]

USA Today: 3rd

The Phillies were banged up and had a bad week, but at least their healing up.

Wrote Gabe Lacques on a quick run through the ranks:

Brandon Marsh is back, Trea Turner right behind him. [USA Today]

🔥🔥🔥 analysis.

Phillies quick hits: Orioles series gets away after gutsy win in the opener

Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports