June 20, 2023
The Phillies are tearing through June again, are getting healthier, and are having a lot more players hit their stride.
They're beating bad teams, sure, but what's highly encouraging is that they've taken care of business against good teams of late too.
They're looking like the defending NL champions again, but is the rest of the baseball world buying it?
Let's take a look at the latest wave of power rankings...
On a 13-4 run so far this month, boosted heavily by an 8-2 road trip out west, the Phillies made a massive leap up The Athletic's power rankings from 20th all the way up to 9th.
The bats are clicking, the starting pitching appears to be turning a serious corner, and the club is coming back to Citizens Bank Park – where it has a major home-field advantage – just in time for a crucial stretch of NL East matchups.
Senior writer Stephen Nesbitt saw all that and could only think of one thing when it comes to the surging Phillies: Watch out.
No NL team has beaten up on visitors this season like the Phillies (.633 home winning percentage), who now host the first-place Braves and Mets this week. Buckle up. Philly is cooking. They entered the first weekend in June seven games under .500 and losers of five games in a row. They exited the third weekend in June four over .500 and on a five-game win streak. They’re one game out of a wild-card spot. Kyle Schwarber is hitting homers every other day this month. A lineup that starts Schwarber, Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto is a problem. The Braves’ lineup is equally (if not more) fearsome, but this time, with the panic button holstered, the Phillies have home-field advantage in their favor. [The Athletic, $]
The Phillies made a big jump in Bleacher Report's weekly rankings as well, with a big key being that they're a lot healthier now on top of finally starting to play to their potential.
Wrote Joel Reuter:
The Phillies won six games in a row to close out their latest road trip, and the pitching staff allowed just 15 runs during that streak. With a 13-4 record and plus-30 run differential in June, they have been steadily climbing the rankings after a slow start to the year. Outside of Rhys Hoskins, who is sidelined with a torn ACL, the roster is finally fully healthy and playing up to its potential. [B/R]
But have they just been benefitting from a weaker stretch in the schedule? The Nationals, Tigers, and Athletics are far from fearsome competition, after all.
Not exactly, because the Phils' hot streak has also included series wins over the powerhouse Dodgers and the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, and with the Braves on deck, this week in South Philly could get wild.
Wrote Matt Snyder:
It's another June Philly surge! They've won 13 of their last 15. I suppose it's fair to point out the Phillies are 8-0 against the Nationals, Tigers and A's during this stretch. Still, much as I defended the Rays during their 13-0 "they haven't beaten anybody!" stretch to start the season, I'll get the Phillies' back here and say it's never as simple as "the weak schedule." Plus, the Phillies took two of three from the Dodgers and three of four from the Diamondbacks, in Arizona, in this same stretch. This coming series against the Braves in Citizens Bank Park will be fun (and the crowd will be rocking). [CBS Sports]
The Phillies also moved up in FOX Sports' weekly rankings, but this week's list came with blurbs highlighting the best rookie contributions from each club so far.
There's nothing really doing for the Phils in that department though. Maybe if Andrew Painter didn't get hurt it would be a different story, but at the same time, it's probably not anything the team is too worried about right now.
Wrote Rowan Kavner:
The Phillies have had very limited rookie production. Dalton Guthrie is the only offensive rookie to log an at-bat, and he's 4-for-24. Reliever Luis Ortiz — who still has rookie status despite debuting five years ago — has probably, narrowly, been their best rookie with a 3.46 ERA in nine appearances. [FOX Sports]
We'll end on MLB.com, which bumped the Phillies up five spots.
Will Leitch's rankings only include writeups on the top-7 teams, but just like with every other ranking here, the key thing is that the Phillies are moving up and doing so quickly, and with the Braves and Mets coming to town, they have a chance to gain a really strong foothold near the top of the major-league hierarchy after this week.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports