A week ago, general manager Matt Klentak said that the quarter mark of the 162 game schedule is a good time to gauge where a team is heading.
After their weekend series with the Atlanta Braves — one that went as well as the weather outside — the Phillies find themselves one-fourth of the way through their season.
Going with what Klentak said, let’s take a look at what direction this Phillies squad is going.
Their competiveness will keep them relevant
This is the biggest difference from last year’s roster to this year’s. The Phillies have a never-say-die attitude. They have found a way to account for their offensive holes by not knowing when to throw in the towel. That’s why the Phillies have found themselves in almost every game this season and why they own an MLB-best 14-3 record in games decided by one run.
The bullpen is better than expected
This is one thing many people didn’t see coming. During spring training, the running joke was that the bullpen was going to be a never-ending carousel of arms this year with a next-man-up approach. That’s been the complete opposite so far. After a few hiccups in the first series, the bullpen has buckled down and become a stable commodity. They have a 9-4 record, which is second best in baseball, and have struck out a whopping 137 batters going into Sunday. That number is among the top 10 in baseball.
A trade deadline deal could happen now
It’s still a few months away, but the Aug. 1 trade deadline could see some minor activity from the Phillies. This won’t be at the expense of mortgaging the future; don’t expect them to ship out any top-tier prospects in an effort to win this season. Klentak could very well have interest in acquiring an outfield bat or another bat off the bench that will help down the stretch but will cost very little. If the Phillies are either atop the division or within a few games, a very small deal could be done.
A positive logjam could occur in outfield soon
Right now, the Phillies have a consistent outfield between Odubel Herrera, Peter Bourjos and Tyler Goeddel. Pete Mackanin will have some decisions to make when Cody Asche returns from his current rehab assignment. There’s even hope that Aaron Altherr — who would have been an Opening Day starter — could return a little sooner than expected from his wrist surgery, which gave him a four to six month recovery back in early March. By the deadline, the Phillies could be trotting out an outfield of Herrera, Goeddel and Altherr, with Asche providing a bat off the bench and Bourjos providing his speed.