Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Just Trying


Look, considering that the Phillies had to start the season playing two very good teams, I think it's perfectly understandable that we're working around .500 right now. You try breaking even after having to play against Ronald Acuna and Elly de la Cruz. We don't need spitefulness towards Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber for having rough starts, it's an understandable response. 

This is what you need to remind Phillies fans sometimes, because they are quick to start bashing people the second they do something they perceive as 'inferior'. Nick Castellanos has gotten off to a rough start, he's hitting only .114 with only 2 RBIs. And people are going 'why didn't we trade this schmo in January?' The second he starts hitting, and it will likely be soon, they'll forget they were ever mad at him. Same with Whit Merrifield, he's had a slow start at the plate, he will get there. It is April, it takes some time for some people to get it together. 

The inverse of that is that some guys on this team aren't having that slow start. J.T. Realmuto's hitting .300, with 9 hits, 4 RBIs and 2 homers. It was only a year or so ago that I was at a Phils game with some people, and J.T. got up and one of them said 'now what does J.T. do really?'. The hell kind of question is that? He's one of the best catchers in the game, makes anybody regret running on him, can hit 25 homers and go for contact. And he's going 'well what's he done this year?' What are you looking for? Since coming to Philly in 2019, he's hit .267 with 339 RBIs and 97 homers, including a 25-homer year and 2 ASG appearances. We had just two catchers last year, Realmuto and Stubbs, and that was it. That's a winning combination, and everybody knows it. 

Similarly, Brandon Marsh is hitting .310 right now. I think the Phillies fans like Marsh, they certainly dig his massive beard and perpetually damp hair. I feel like they're waiting for him to make his way up the lineup and do something bigger, but this season is definitely a step in that direction. 

I think my favorite story out of this team so far has been Spencer Turnbull. It's been years since Turnbull's been a full-season starting option, and his multiple partial years deterred Detroit from keeping him around. But so far, Turnbull has been the Phils' second-most reliable pitcher after Wheeler. In 2 starts, Wheeler has allowed no runs and struck out 13. As all things should be.

I think there are minor issues with defense, the bullpen and some back half guys, but A.) these are issues this iteration of the team has solved before, and B.) it's early, and things could even out. With the rest of the division being okay-to-terrible, the Phillies are a good choice for second place, and that could go a long way if they have that many easy division matchups. 

I just hope the fans can be patient with this team. It's happened before with this group, it could happen again. 

Coming Tomorrow- It says a lot about how well the Rangers' depth has been that even the guys that don't make it there are headlining other teams. 

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