The good vibes are starting to spill out of South Philly again. The Phillies might not catch Atlanta, but then they proved last season they don’t really care about that sort of thing. Last night, Michael Lorenzen threw a no-hitter in his second start for the Fightins, and his first at home. It is the capper to what’s been a pretty great stretch for the Phillies.
Since June 1, and it’s been underplayed because of how good Atlanta has been, Philly has been playing at a 101-win pace. And the difference between them and the other big spenders in the NL — the Mets and the Padres — is that the Phillies have been able to fill in the gaps they didn’t pay for with their own guys. You can’t buy an entire lineup of nine. You can’t buy a full rotation. The Padres and Mets have been hurt by those spots they couldn’t get to. The Phillies haven’t. They’ve even been so good that they can get around the stuff they did pay for not being all that good. Even if it’s riding the wave of fortune just a bit.
Since that June 1 date, Bryson Stott has a 127 wRC+. He’s been a three-WAR player so far this season, and a good portion of that is due to the .341 BABIP he has on the season which has only bounced to .354 in the past two months. Those hits still count obviously. Alec Bohm, who not all that long ago was at least circling being another Phillie homegrown disappointment, has a 132 wRC+ during this stretch. His BABIP has been .368. Brandon Marsh, an under-the-radar pickup at last year’s deadline, has a 117 wRC+ since June 1, with a .404 BABIP. Which is only two points higher than his season mark of .402. He’s hitting the ball very hard this year, to be fair to him, but according to StatCast his average and slugging numbers are 50 to 60 points higher than they should be. That’s rolling all 7s.
All of that has been able to balance that the Phillies’ big ticket items haven’t carried the mail. We’ve documented Trea Turner before. Nick Castellanos has been OK. Bryce Harper was hurt. J.T. Realmuto’s season could be described as “meh.” But whereas these kinds of things have sunk the Mets and Padres, they’ve been balanced out at Citizens Bank.
In the rotation, Ranger Suarez has been able to be just enough of a counterweight to Aaron Nola’s struggles. Taijuan Walker and Christopher Sanchez have also been on the good side of fiendish BABIP treachery (.268 and .234). You can add Craig Kimbrel and Matt Strahm from the pen to that list of guys still on the board while on the BABIP wave.
The optimistic view for the Phils is that even if all this dries up in the next couple weeks, there’s still a good chance that Turner, Castellanos, Realmuto, and Nola all return to form. Again, balanced out.
There’s also a strange-feeling good-vibes thing going on here. We’re used to Philly fans being known as the ones who get the knives out for anyone after their first 0-for-3. And yet Turner and the Phillies fans seem to have a connection, even with his struggles. Bohm was given a figurative hug even after he was caught on camera saying he hated it there. Is Philly actually living up to the brotherly love label? Well, not as long as the Flyers are around, but it’s closer than it’s ever been.
They’re not going to catch Atlanta without some miracle. But they’re on track to get the divisional round at home against a Marlins team that can’t hit, or a Reds team that can’t pitch, or a Giants team that’s full of guys who are made up, or the Cubs who are managed by a coma victim. And they have the know-how from last season.
The Philadelphia Phillies, full of feel-good vibes. We’re through the looking glass here, people.
Speaking of feel-good…
Mana Shim’s first goal in eight years, which probably felt pretty damn good considering what she’s been through.
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Original source here
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