How Are They Doing Lately? Over the past 30 days, the Phillies are 11-16, tied with the Brewers for the worst record in the league. Only the 10-17 Marlins have been worse.
What's Going Right? In the 15-team National League, the Phillies' starters have a 4.45 ERA over the past 30 days, exactly in the middle of the pack. The relievers' ERA of 3.62 is lower, but that's actually the sixth worst in the league. ve a 2.92 ERA, fourth best in the league over the past 30 days. Considering that their starting pitchers (keep reading) have forced the bullpen to throw 83.1 innings, fourth most in the league, that's pretty good.
What's Going Wrong? The team's batting average of .252 is eighth in the league over the past 30 days, but the .298 on base percentage is 12th and the .384 slugging percentage tenth. What that means: Lots of doubles (59, most in the league) but a dearth of homers (18, second to last) and walks (59, tied for second fewest). They're not scoring runs (98, fourth fewest) because they're not getting on base enough nor hitting enough homers.
Who's Hot? Rookie Maikel Franco has taken over at third base and has been the club's best run producer, with a .286 batting average, .320 on base percentage, and .551 slugging percentage (with six homers, a third of the team's total) over the past 30 days. He's also struck out in only 15% of his plate appearances, way below the NL average of 21%. Leadoff hitter Ben Revere's hit .292 with a .330 on base percentage over the past 30 days, enabling him to steal six bases. Ryan Howard almost never walks (2 walks in the past month) and strikes out a lot (29% of plate appearances) but has managed to hit five balls out of the park, giving him a .510 slugging percentage of late. Lefthanded starter Cole Hamels, the Phillies' most prized trade chip, has improved his value, with a 2.70 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 43.1 innings over his last six starts. In the bullpen, closer Jonathan Papelbon and fellow reliever Jeanmar Gonzalez both have sub-1.00 ERAs over the past 30 days.
Who's Not? The last time the teams met, shortstop Freddy Galvis was the Phillies' hottest hitter. He sure isn't anymore: .170/.223/.182 slash line over the past 30 days. The outfielders other than Revere have been mostly a mess. Other than Papelbon and Gonzalez, the bullpen's got a 4.80 ERA and the Phillies' rotation after Hamels and fellow trade bait Aaron Harang (3.82 ERA over the past 30 days) has been bad, with a 5.72 ERA. The Pirates face Hamels on Sunday.
What's the Outlook? The Phillies aren't a good team, though their starters' ERA over the past 30 days, 4.45, is better than that of the Brewers starters (4.72), against whom the Pirates mustered only three runs over 19.1 innings. If the Pirates can score runs in the early innings, they should be fine. If they can't, Papelbon's going to make bottom-of-the-ninth rallies pretty hard.
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