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COMMENTARY: Phillies Success Continues

Gulf Coast League PhilliesGulf Coast League Phillies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author Austin Darrow | CNB Sports  

The 2016 Philadelphia Phillies are no joke. We’ve seen them shock us in the month of April to showing us they are true competitors through the first week of May.

Vegasinsider.com had the Phillies winning 66 games this season. As of right now, I can see the Phillies ending up with 75-80 wins or maybe more.

That’s not enough for the post-season, but it’s good enough for the fans. Maybe the rebuilding process won’t take as long as we had expected.

There're a few factors as to why this team could be an above .500 record this season or a playoff team within the next year or two.

  1. Pitching

The bullpen started the season on a bad note. They blew a few games, but their hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed.

In five out of the six shutouts, the Phillies have this season, their starters haven’t gone past the 7th inning. The sixth shutout was Vince Velasquez’s 16 strikeout performance in San Diego.

In the other five shutouts, the bullpen has delivered. Another dominating factor is Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez.

Those two have shut down games that last year’s bullpen would most likely blow. The continuing success of those two is something to look out for.

The starters have been brilliant so far. They have the 3rd most strikeouts and the opponents are only hitting .229 making it the 3rd best batting average against in the league.

It’s hard to overlook Velasquez and Aaron Nola as an up and coming dynamic duo. These two have proven they can pitch with the best in the NL East.

  1. The Big Three

Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, and Maikel Franco have shown what they can do for this team.

Herrera is 4th in the league in OBP and is batting .324. Hernandez is only hitting .267, but when batting behind Herrera, he’s hitting .324.

Then there’s the big man Franco, who feeds off those two getting on and then knocks them in. Franco leads the team in RBI’s with 17.

The Phillies have not had a 1-2-3 in their lineup like this since 2008. That’s when Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, and Chase Utley topped the lineup card.

The 2016 trio aren’t as intimidating as the 2008 trio just yet but expect them to keep building on each other.

Then if the Phillies decide to add J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams to the lineup, that’s a scary lineup for a pitcher to face.

  1. Pete Mackanin

Mackanin is different from Charlie Manuel and Ryne Sandberg. Mackanin makes this team believe in themselves.

Manuel, who brought us a World Series, was laid back because he had a core group of guys who knew what to do. Sandberg was just too thin-skinned for this team and was disrespected by every player.

Mackanin doesn’t just give a starting spot to someone based on previous results. Mackanin has shown he will bench Franco if he’s struggling.

He will platoon Ryan Howard, who is 1 of 2 players from the 2008 team. Best of all, Mackanin will bat a pitcher in front of you if you do not produce.

This team is having fun under Mackanin because they’re not on a short leash. They get put out there and focus on improvement.

This team has few expectations for the season. They’re not expected to win like this.

So keep doing what you’re doing, Phillies. The sun is starting to come out in Philadelphia after years of misery in this sports town.

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