Phillies Game Story

Phillies stacking complete team wins, showing their depth

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN DIEGO — Three weeks ago, the question was whether the Phillies could avoid another slow start.

Two weeks ago, the question was about their lack of power.

They're now 27 games in, the season is only one-sixth complete, but nights like Friday make you wonder if this team could be meaningfully better than it was in 2022 and 2023.

"I believe so," Brandon Marsh said after hitting a home run off Joe Musgrove and robbing a home run from Jake Cronenworth. "We're all more familiar with each other now. We pretty much have the same lineup from last year. We all work well together. We've just got to keep the train going."

The train's picking up speed. The Phillies have won nine of 11 and at 17-10 are tied for the second-most wins in baseball. They've achieved the much-discussed hot start. The last time they had a better record through 27 games was 2011 when they started 18-9.

They haven't faced the stiffest of competition, playing six games against the Rockies and White Sox. The Braves have played eight games against the White Sox and Marlins, who have the worst record in the National League.

With five home runs and three doubles Friday, the Phillies' slugging percentage as a team rose from .394 to fifth-best in MLB at .411.

Alec Bohm is 20-for-39 (.513) during a 10-game hitting streak. Trea Turner is hitting .333 on the season. Marsh and Bryce Harper each hit their sixth home runs Friday and Kyle Schwarber popped his seventh.

And Nick Castellanos finally got into the act, driving a solo shot just over Jurickson Profar's glove in left-center for his first home run of the season in his 105th plate appearance.

When you factor in not only the rotation's dominance but the many signs of sustainability, along with improved defense and a relatively thin NL, this should be the best regular-season version of a Phillies team that has played deep into October two postseasons in a row.

"No doubt about it," Castellanos said at his locker, "and that's with the maturity of Marsh and Bohmer."

To a man, the Phillies were ecstatic to see the monkey fall off Castellanos' back.

"Huge. Really huge," manager Rob Thomson said. "I know that he's grinding in his mind, but he's an experienced guy who's been through it before. I'm sure that was really satisfying for him."

"That was big-time," Marsh added. "Only a matter of time and I'm excited to see what's in store for him."

"Awesome, man," said Aaron Nola, who struck out 10 over eight innings to improve to 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA. "It's only a matter of time 'til that guy starts to hit, we've seen it plenty of times."

Thomson said he has not considered sitting Castellanos for one or multiple games during his month-long funk.

"I touch base with him every day and he feels good about himself, and I see his at-bats getting better," Thomson said. "Hitting the ball hard once a game, lofting the ball to the middle of the diamond. He's working diligently, as hard as anybody, to try to get out of this thing. Maybe this gets him going in the right direction."

Defense made a difference Friday night and that's another area where the Phillies have been measurably better. Harper has graded out as one of the five best defensive first basemen so far, while Turner and Bohm have each made strides from 2023. The left side of the infield made at least four high-degree-of-difficulty plays in the 9-3 win, plays that would have altered Nola's outing and potentially the game if not fielded cleanly.

"It's been huge," Thomson said. "Trea's played great. I know he had a couple of tough games early but I attribute that to the weather, the fields. His glove action, he's a very accurate thrower right now. He's played really well all-around and Bohm's been great."

The Phillies' last six wins have all come by four or more runs as they search for another complete team win Saturday night behind Ranger Suarez, who's twirled 25 consecutive scoreless innings.

Contact Us