Philadelphia Phillies Season Preview
After an interesting offseason bringing back key players and attempting to patch up a historically bad bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies are poised to have their first winning season since 2011.
The National League East is sure to be one of if not the most competitive division in baseball. All five clubs have strong rosters and could be in playoff contention.
Throughout the offseason and spring training, the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves have been labeled by analysts as the favorites to win the division. However, many have pointed out that the talent of the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals could push them into the conversation if they play to high standards.
When it comes to the Phillies offseason, the objective was to bring back key pieces while also finding solutions for an abysmal bullpen.
The Phillies certainly accomplished their goals when the “sign JT” campaign finally came to an conclusion when the star catcher signed a five-year deal worth $115.5 million. The club also surprised some people when they were able to bring back shortstop Didi Gregorius under a two-year $28 million deal.
As for the bullpen, the Phillies brought in relievers Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Brandon Kintzler and Sam Coonrod. They also seem to be shifting pitcher Vince Velasquez to the bullpen.
Many analysts and fans question if the moves the Phillies made will be enough to contend in a loaded National League East. The Mets brought in a plethora of new weapons while a Braves team one game away from a World Series berth made significant additions as well.
The bottom line with the Phillies however is that their lineup is stacked. Up and down the order they have respected hitters such as Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Didi Gregorius plus a rising star in Alec Bohm. If Philadelphia can show improvement from an awful bullpen and maintain the solid starting pitching they had last year, they will definitely be in playoff contention.
The Phillies led in a ridiculous 49 out of 60 games last year. The team blew leads in 21 of their 32 total losses. If they can even cut that amount in half, the team will have a lot of wins in 2021.
The lineup is obviously lethal, the bullpen has been somewhat shored up and the starting pitching is solid enough, so what does the Phillies’ path to a postseason berth look like?
Due to two of the MLB’s best clubs residing in the National League West being the Padres and Dodgers, many are already pinning a wildcard spot on one of those two teams. That leaves a maximum of two spots remaining for NL East clubs.
As mentioned earlier, the Braves and Mets are seen as the two teams who will be contending for the division crown. Although the Mets are much improved, the Phillies could look to take advantage of a new team trying to gel together early on and a somewhat fragile pitching rotation already dealing with some injuries.
Despite all of the improvements, it will be a tough task for the Phillies to finally get back in the playoffs. It would not be surprising to see it all click together for the first time in the Bryce Harper era, but if the bullpen is anything like last year it could be the tenth season in a row where the Phillies are home in October.
Maclain Young is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Second Year / Broadcast Journalism