Phillies Analysis

For Phillies, keeping the status quo has had some advantages in season's hot start

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The Phillies spent a lot of money this offseason, but most of it went to retaining the services of righthanded starters Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, which caused some observers to give the front office the fish eye.

Doesn’t a team that’s really trying to win have to splurge on at least one fancy new free agent?

Apparently not. By beating the Rangers, 5-2, Thursday at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils continue to have the best record in baseball. And there was a general feeling in the clubhouse as the players packed for the upcoming road trip to Colorado and San Francisco that keeping the status quo had some advantages that might not have been apparent at first.

Manager Rob Thomson has talked a lot about the unusual chemistry this group has and he’s also frequently mentioned that after losing the World Series in 2023 and being eliminated by the Diamondbacks last year has added an urgency to get over the finish line.

In that sense, running it back meant that equilibrium went largely undisturbed.

“We all know each other well,” righthander Zack Wheeler noted. “We know, for the most part, what we’re going to do in certain situations on the field. And that’s always big.”

Added rightfielder Nick Castellanos: “This is the best team I’ve ever been a part of. It’s a lot of fun. Winning is hard, right, even when you have the same pieces together for a long amount of time. So the fact that we’re able to feel adversity together, to feel triumphs together it just makes our bond as a group greater.

“So that’s hats off to the ownership and the front office for believing the pieces that are already here. I can’t speak for the whole team. I can speak for myself that I had a real hard time enjoying any part of the offseason, even when I was on vacation, just because of how the season ended.”

When shortstop Trea Turner went on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, it was a huge loss. But Edmundo Sosa stepped up. In 14 subsequent starts he’s hitting .341. Wednesday night he hit a clutch three-run homer to give starter Taijuan Walker some breathing room. Thursday he had his first three-hit game in two years and also made a terrific catch on a pop-up in shallow left.

“We all know what we’re here for. We all know where we want to go,” he said through interpreter Diego D’Aniello. “We all know what our goal is. We want to go out and finish something that we have on hold right now.”

UP NEXT: LHP Cristopher Sanchez (2-3, 3.31) will start against LHP Ty Blach (1-2, 5.14) Friday at 8:40 p.m. when the Phillies open a weekend series against the last-place Rockies at Coors Field. It will be RHP Aaron Nola (6-2, 3.05) vs. RHP Dakota Hudson (1-7, 5.89) Saturday at 9:10 p.m. and LHP Ranger Suarez (9-0, 1.36) vs. RHP Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.59) Sunday.

Despite having one of the worst records in baseball, Colorado has been on a bit of an upswing recently. They had a seven-game winning streak from May 9-15 that included sweeps of the Rangers and Padres and are a relatively respectable 9-12 (.429) at home. . .They were swept at Citizens Bank Park on April 15-16-17, but two of the games were decided by one run.

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