Photo courtesy of NBC Sports
By: Ross Sutton
After a slow start to the season, the Phillies have been hot recently as they have now won 6 in a row and are in second place in the NL East with a 9-4 record. The Phillies have swept three-game series against the Reds and Rays and will now travel to Atlanta where they will see if they can stay hot. After signing Jake Arrieta, the Phillies were a trendy pick to make a push for one of the two Wild Card spots in the National League. The Phillies are a youthful bunch, as many of their best players are on rookie contracts. I think the Phillies could be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot come the trade deadline, and if they are, then I think they will likely try to make a move for a big name pitcher on the trade market. I still think there is a good chance that this happens, as the Phillies have a lot of talented players in their farm system that do not have a clear path to a spot on the roster where they can be daily contributors.
The Phillies have seen great pitching by Aaron Nola, who owns a 1.96 ERA to this point in the season. Nola has shown signs of greatness previously, but has not been able to completely put it together. If he can continue to put together similar outings the rest of the year, Nola will be a great number two starter in the Phillies’ rotation behind Jake Arrieta. The Phils have also gotten great offensive production out of Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, and Caesar Hernandez who all have batting averages over .275 so far. Herrera and Hoskins are leading the team in hitting to this point, as they are sporting very solid averages of .327 and .326, respectively. In my opinion, the Phillies (and Mets) need to take advantage of the Nationals slow start and get as far ahead of the Nats as they can before they figure things out and play like the team that has dominated the division over the last few years.
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