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May 17, 2024

5 Phillies thoughts: Beating up on bad teams, Bryson Stott's heater and more

The Phillies are doing exactly what great teams do with their soft early season schedule, stacking wins against inferior competition and leading the standings.

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Bryson-Stott-Phillies-May-2024 Bill Streicher/USA Today

Bryson Stott is playing the best baseball of his career right now.

The Phillies have the best record in baseball at 31-14. They are 2.5 games up on Atlanta in the National League East race. The energy for the Fightins is tremendous currently, taking three of four from the detested Mets over the last several days before a weekend set with the lowly Nationals. As I frequently do here at PhillyVoice, here are five thoughts I currently have about the Phils...

The Phillies are doing their job

There's been this larger discourse online, mostly seen with Phillies fans fighting with other fan bases, that the Phils only have the league's best record because they're beating up on bad teams so far this season. The idea from Atlanta and New York fans and others is that they're not as good as their record truly indicates, simply a product of an easy early schedule.

It's nauseating.

This is what good teams do. They crush bad teams and hold their own against the other great ones. It would be highly concerning if a Phillies team with championship-or-bust aspirations wasn't piling it on against the likes of the Reds and the Marlins. That's what's happened frequently during this era of Phillies baseball and it was wildly infuriating during the 2022 and 2023 regular seasons. It's why no one fully bought into this team, even across the Delaware Valley, until that playoff magic was on display in October 2022. 

They took three of four from a Mets team that might end up being sellers at the trade deadline? Good! That's what they're supposed to be doing! They're right on schedule. You play who's in the opposite dugout. You stack wins against scrubs to protect your place in the standings when the grind of the late summer comes and injuries inevitably pop up. 

The Phillies are for real. Don't let some internet trolls from Georgia or Long Island tell you differently. 

A surging Bryson Stott

After a middling start to 2024, Bryson Stott has been on a tear as of late. In his last 15 games, Stott is hitting .409 with a Ruthian 1.313 OPS, driving in 18 runs and walking 16 times against just six strikeouts. 

Stott is coming up clutch, too.

Though it was an 11-inning loss on Thursday night, Stott provided some heroics with the Phils down in the ninth to the Mets, slapping an RBI single to extend the game:

The Phillies needed everyone to step up during Trea Turner's absence with a hamstring injury. They're doing their part, from Stott to Edmundo Sosa to a dominant rotation. This is a team in the truest sense of the word. 

There are Golden Era 2007-2011 vibes galore for the Phils right now.

Ranger Suárez report

It's time for my typical check-in on Ranger Suárez, the Destroyer of Worlds himself. Suárez is an MLB-best 8-0 while having the top WHIP in the sport at 0.763. I've written that both his demeanor and success on the mound this season remind me of Cliff Lee

Perhaps this is sacrilegious and, yes, of course, we're dealing with a smaller sample size with Suárez, but look at how his 2024 so far compares to the best pitching season of my lifetime: 1999 Pedro Martínez.

 Stat '99 Martínez'24  Suárez
ERA 2.07 1.37 
ERA+ 243 292 
FIP 1.39 2.69 
WHIP 0.923 .0763 
Ks/9 13.2 8.8 
Hits/9 6.85.3 
Walks/9  1.6 1.5 

Just throwing it out there!

The Schwarber Schimmy

Your new favorite Phillies reaction video just dropped:

That'll get a lot of use all summer and, hopefully for Phillies fans, all October as well.

Chase Utley: Forever "The Man"

Few fan bases detest a specific player as much as Mets fans loathe Chase Utley. Philadelphia obviously eats that up, as does Utley, who's had big battles with New York with the Fightins and during his years with the Dodgers, too. Utley, an MLB ambassador, was in town doing promotional work for the Phillies-Mets London Series next month.

Will Utley be doing similar work at the Mets' Citi Field in Queens?

"No, I never got a phone call..."


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