Perception is the devil that tortures the Philadelphia Phillies faithful, and the only antidote is patience because there are three repeating cycles a year. Unfortunately, neither team is hot from start to finish; they are also cold or play .500 ball multiple times. Each club does all three.
Regrouping for two homestands before a trip to the West Coast, the Phillies hosted 13 of 16 total home games. And seven of them are against the New York Mets: four in Philadelphia. Always, good or bad streaks end, and the .500 ball will also be in the summer equation. More highs than lows are my predictions for 2022.
In other words:
“Losing streaks are fun. If you lose at the start, you are off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you are in crisis. If you lose at the end, you choke. – Gene Mauch
Losing isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s worse if you participate: post-game broadcasters, writers and analysts. It’s not a good feeling; I have seen and heard others suffer from it: I remember the losses of 2009 during the daily recaps. Yes, they went to the World Series, but the losses still hurt.
No player wants a losing streak because it represents failure, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won 20 straight games before the losses pile up: losing is also contagious. Realistically, baseball has this work-related disadvantage during periods with three wins and nine losses, such as recent results ranging from 3-1 to 6-10.
Unlike winning and losing, playing .500 ball keeps a franchise quietly relevant. To illustrate, a team that has 15 games over .500 may still have 15 more wins than losses after 20 more games, and many fans don’t realize this. In fact, research reveals it’s below the surface.
Winning streaks happen when the club has everything in place. Barring the 2011 Phillies with four aces, however, the organization will see good times and bad. And keep in mind that the flaws of the red stripes will eventually surface and end any winning chain. The first of a long series !
In the front row, Jean Segura and JT Realmuto are interchangeable when the one at the top of the order collapses. Then they would switch places in the daily nine with Segura moving to slot five. But the catch with Kyle Schwarber was that the clubs were effective with a southpaw against Schwarber and Bryce Harper in the same frame.
Beating second, Rhys Hoskins will have a better opportunity to be selective with Harper and Nick Castellanos behind him. Basically, the two and four holes are the RBI positions, so the first two batters will have pitches to hit. And the races in the first leg will give the starters an advantage.
At the heart of the order, Harper and Castellanos will mainly reach third and fourth this season if they are healthy. And they have the pieces around them for multiple RBI situations. However, even the bottom of the lineup doesn’t have easy exits either. And the brass expect this group to average – on average – five points per game overall.
Currently, Realmuto sit in fifth place to protect Castellanous and have Schwarber behind him. And, no, Schwarber won’t beat fifth for an opposing manager to throw around Castellanos with a southpaw against Harper and Schwarber. So expect two right-sided hitters between Harper and Schwarber.
In the center, Odubel Herrera will have the lion’s share of the work as he will face right-handers, while Matt Vierling will take care of the ports. Currently, Herrera is off to a good start and Vierling has been productive lately. But the Phillies could add Mickey Moniak to see if his spring was a preview for ’22.
Additionally, the bottom of the roster has seven players for three spots and currently Alec Bohm is producing offensively with adequate defense. For now, he’ll take care of the hot corner, and Bryson Stott could return to Triple-A to play daily. But after Stott dominated in camp, Bohm is the one to strike in April.
In short, Johan Camargo takes advantage of his opportunity with Didi Gregorious on the mend. But Gregorius is averaging .286 with an OBP of .342, so he will be back in the lineup. However, Camargo is hitting .318 and will fill any position on the court: he will have regular chances.
With the campaign underway, Gregorius’ health is visible with a bat and a glove. But Stott got off to a slow start, while Bohm and Camargo keep him on the bench with their production. And if the Camargo switch hitter stays hot, will it affect Gregorius’ playing time without a fast-return rush?
Camargo could also be the third sack if Bohm has more difficulty with the glove than the bat. In fact, the competition brings out the best in Camargo and Bohm. And when the manager plays hot hand, it influences his line-up. Yeah, hit or sit down.