Czerwonka: Who’s hot and cold for the Phillies

Phillies hot and cold graphic. - Multimedia Editor / Drew Peltzman

We’re nearing a month into the 2024 MLB season and the Phillies are hovering around the .500 mark. While it has been a better start compared to previous years, it still can be considered a lackluster start to the season. Taking into account that the team has had an easier schedule in April, the Phillies should most definitely be above .500, although the team has been a mix of players who are oddly struggling, and who are off to a hot start in the season. 

First, let’s take a look at who’s off to a hot start.

Brandon Marsh

Marsh is one of the very few bright spots that the Phillies have hitting-wise currently. He has been one of, if not the best, player on the team as of now. He’s ranked first on the team in batting average (.313), and home runs (4), and second in hits (15) and RBIs (9). 

But there’s been one problem that fans all have agreed on, which is the fact of why Marsh hasn’t been starting every day for the team. The 26-year-old outfielder has played consistently well throughout the first couple of weeks, and with the team battling .500, it should certainly be questioned as to why he’s not starting every day.

A perfect example of this was the home opener against the Braves, Marsh was the one to produce runs when he hit a three-run home run. But the very next day, he was sat on the bench. 

Trea Turner

Turner has probably been the best hitter out of the struggling offense this season. Through 16 games so far with 62 ABS, Turner is batting .302, as well as having the most hits on the team at 19 and stolen bases (4). 

He’s already had quite a few multi-hit games, including one against the Pirates in game four of the series, where he went 3-4, with a home run and 2 RBIs. In an away game against the Cardinals, he went 2-3 and drew a walk. 

Compared to around this time last year, Turner was the complete opposite of what he is this season, as he was swinging and missing with constant strikeouts.

Most of the Pitching Staff

The pitching staff, for a majority of the season, has been a huge bright spot for the Phillies. 

All of the starters from Wheeler down to Christopher Sanchez have been solid. However, the one that surprised me the most was Spencer Turnbull. Just last season, he had a 7.26 ERA with the Detroit Tigers, and now with the Phillies, he has a 1.80 ERA to pair with 16 strikeouts. 

Zack Wheeler has been doing his thing, as he already has collected 30 strikeouts. He’s gone 6+ innings in each game he’s started, except for the most recent game. 

Ranger Suarez has been great as well, as in the three games he’s appeared in, he’s gone at least six innings, as well as having a 2.65 ERA with 19 strikeouts. 

A part of the bullpen has been great too, all except for Seranthony Dominguez. 

After a horrid season last year, Yunior Marte has seemingly been pitching way better than he ever has. Last year, he was one of the worst in the bullpen, with a 5.03 ERA in 40 appearances on the mound. But now, in seven appearances, he has a solid 1.17 ERA and nine strikeouts, which ties for second in the Phillies bullpen. 

Alvarado is also still the dominant pitcher that he’s usually been, despite one bad appearance, which was his first. In eight games played, the lefty has two saves. 

Cold Start

Bryce Harper

This is the oddest one out of them all. On April 2nd, against the Cincinnati Reds at home, Harper sent three balls into the stands, with one of them being a grand slam. He also drove in six runs for the team, along with the win. Harper hasn’t homered since that game. 

Taking away the game against the Reds, Harper has just eight hits, one RBI, and sixteen strikeouts in 54 plate appearances.

But before that game, the first baseman was 0-11 with just one walk. Fast forward to the four-game Pittsburgh series that the team just played, Harper just went 2-16. Currently, he’s hitting .190 with a .277 OBP. In just the last seven games, he’s hitting a whopping .074.

Although Harper missed the last 10 days of Spring Training, the team insists that the two-time MVP isn’t injured and just frustrated. And considering that it’s Bryce Harper, the turnaround will eventually come.

Nick Castellanos 

Unlike Castellanos’ hot start last year, he’s off to a mighty slow start this season. 

So far, we might even be back to the old Castellanos, as he’s constantly swinging and missing at sliders. His hitting just hasn’t been there this season, and just looking at the numbers, it’s clear to see that is the case. In this early span of the season, Castellanos is hitting .190, along with a .262 OBP.

Although hopefully, things are starting to look up for the 11-year veteran. In the win on April 13th against the Pirates, when the game went into extra innings, Castellanos hit a walk-off single.

Johan Rojas 

This one was pretty obvious. As Rojas continues to fail to hit the ball, fans continue to call for him to be sent down back to the minors or be traded. And unlike the fans, the team has been very patient with him so far. 

Rojas’ struggles didn’t start just this season though. Last year in the playoffs, he struggled mightily to hit the ball, as he only got four hits in the postseason. 

But this year has been a continuation of those very same struggles, as the center fielder is only hitting .190 so far. Similar to Harper though, one night against the Cardinals, he came through with three hits and gathered one RBI. 

But just before that game, he was hitting 1-22 (.045), and now, he’s hitting .189. 

Rojas is a fantastic defender though, but the Phillies hope that Rojas’ struggles as a hitter don’t continue to grow to the point that he’s lost almost all confidence at the plate. 

Although this all could very much change in the span of the next month or two, as baseball (and especially with this team) is usually a matter of who’s hot and cold. 

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