Phillies right fielder Jake Cave catches a fly ball during the second inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds on April 16, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

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The Phillies have been around since 1883 and yet I still don’t know what they are.

Are they a baseball team that plays in Philadelphia? Yes, but outside of that, if you’ve watched any Phils baseball over the season’s first two-plus weeks, one thing you’ve learned is that this group is about as easy to pin down as jello. 

After losing five of their first six games against the Rangers and Yankees, the Phillies have played .500 ball over their last 10 games — but that’s been against the not-trying-to-win Reds and the can’t-hit-to-save-their-lives Marlins. The starting rotation has struggled to pitch deep into games and the bullpen has been a daily adventure. 

The offense, well, I honestly don’t even know what we’re looking at here.

They scored 15 runs against the Marlins a week ago against the reigning Cy Young Award winner, then lost two straight. Then, against a bad Reds team, they went into Cincinnati and did the following:

  • Lost 6-2 on Thursday
  • Won 8-3 on Friday
  • Lost 13-0 on Saturday
  • Won 14-3 on Sunday

This team makes absolutely no sense. 

Offensively, the Phils aren’t hitting many homers, just 15 in 16 games, tied for 22nd in baseball. Over the past week, they scored 15 runs in one game and 14 runs in another. That’s 29 runs in two games, but with a total of 16 in the other five. 

In other words, they scored 64% of their runs in just those two games last week. That’s some Jekyll and Hyde stuff right there. 

The Phillies’ .293 team batting average is the best in baseball. They’re 2nd in slugging and 4th in on-base percentage, and thanks to those 14 runs on Sunday, they’re now 10th in runs scored, but those runs have come inconsistently because of large stretches in which they don’t get hits with runners on base. 

On Sunday, they went 11-for-27 with RISP.

ELEVEN FOR TWENTY-SEVEN. That’s good, friends.

Every Phillies starter had a hit, and RBI and a run scored, something they’ve only even done twice before in their history. Brandon Marsh leads the league in slugging percentage and OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm are both scalding the ball, with Stott’s leadoff home run giving him a hit in each of the team’s first 16 games, tying Puddin’ Head Jones (1950) for the longest hitting streak to begin a season by a Phillies player in the modern era (since 1900). 

And yet, they’re 6-10 on the season, six games behind the Atlanta Braves, in 4th place in the NL East. 

*shoulder shrug emoji* 

On the latest edition of Hittin’ Season, Justin Klugh, Liz Roscher and I tried to figure out exactly what the Phillies are with a little more than two weeks in the books, as well as:

  • Something to build on for Aaron Nola
  • The bullpen’s rocky start
  • Celebrating the Phillies Daycare
  • Balancing panic and a worry-free approach to early season struggles
  • A preview of this week’s schedule and the road ahead

Listen above or download the episode here.

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John Stolnis, Hittin' Season

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...