This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat publication. To learn the total publication, click on right here. And subscribe to get it recurrently in your inbox.
The Phillies plan to pop champagne bottles someplace throughout their upcoming 10-game street journey by Chicago, Washington and Houston.
However apart from a celebration celebrating the Phils’ first journey to the postseason since 2011, they want to see a couple of different issues occur on the street.
1. Harper heats up
When you watched Bryce Harper this week, then you already know he’s struggling offensively. He entered Saturday hitless in his previous 13 at-bats with seven strikeouts. He confirmed bunt a couple of occasions just lately, which he often does when he’s scuffling, and he argued for a foul tip on a ball he didn’t seem near hitting. Harper was slashing .149/.247/.284 with two house runs, six RBIs, 9 walks and 26 strikeouts in 77 plate appearances this month. It goes with out saying the Phillies want him to return to his 2021 NL MVP kind — and he confirmed indicators of doing so with an opposite-field two-run homer off Kyle Wright on Saturday.
“I believe he’s simply caught in between proper now,” interim supervisor Rob Thomson stated. “It’s simply timing and confidence. He’ll get it again.”
2. The bullpen settles
The bullpen has been unsettled the previous 5 weeks. Seranthony Domínguez’s time on the injured listing was a giant cause why. All the things simply match when he was wholesome and pitching properly. The bullpen had a 3.64 ERA from the time Thomson changed Joe Girardi on June 3 to Domínguez’s ultimate look earlier than he went on the IL on Aug. 17.
From Aug. 18 by Thursday, the bullpen had a 5.55 ERA.
The Phillies want Domínguez to repair no matter is ailing him on the mound. They want David Robertson, Brad Hand and Connor Brogdon to get proper, too. Within the meantime, Thomson is turning into extra comfy with Zach Eflin and José Alvarado taking down large innings late in video games. They need to assist.
3. Wheeler retains constructing
Zack Wheeler pitched 4 scoreless innings in his return to the rotation Wednesday. His four-seam fastball averaged 97.9 mph, 2 mph higher than his season common.
Wheeler will make two extra begins within the common season: Tuesday at Chicago and Oct. 2 at Washington. His pitch depend could possibly be about 70 on Tuesday and 85 on Oct. 2. Thomson stated Wheeler might be turned unfastened after that, which is sweet information as a result of “after that” can be Sport 1 of the NL Wild Card Sequence.
Castellanos slashed .322/.349/.496 with 5 homers, 15 RBIs and an .845 OPS in 31 video games earlier than he strained his indirect on Sept. 2 in San Francisco. It was alleged to be a giant loss, however since Castellanos final performed, Matt Vierling, Dalton Guthrie and Nick Maton have held down proper discipline. They’ve slashed a mixed .333/.407/.627 with 4 homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.037 OPS by Thursday.
Might the Phillies platoon in proper every time Castellanos returns? It may be a option to work him again after lacking a couple of weeks.
“The one factor we have now to think about is conditioning,” Thomson stated. “He hasn’t performed the outfield in a very long time. So there could possibly be days off when he comes again. Simply to get him off his toes. We’ll see how he performs. If he performs, then I need him on the market every single day. If he is performing the best way he can carry out.”