The Phillies have had a rough start to the 2020 season. It is a shortened season by 102 games, so the slow start is magnified times 2. Here's how the Phillies have found themselves fighting to just get over .500 in the first quarter of the season.
The Problem: The Phillies would be in a better situation if they would pitch better. The starters have been horrendous after Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler. Jake Arrieta looked promising after his first two starts. But, Arrieta's last two starts have been horrid performances, allowing four runs in each of those outings. Keep in mind, the last two teams he faced were the Orioles and the Red Sox, two bottom of the cellar teams in the AL East.
While the Phils offense has not received any support from the bullpen, their offense has still been good. Don't let the scores fool you. The bullpen has been terrible. Their combined ERA has been 8.11. That means every 9 innings, they are allowing 8 runs every game! The bullpen needs a lot of work.
The Solution: With the trade deadline coming up, there will be some options for relievers. With the new playoff format, it makes the Phillies have an even better chance to make the playoffs. But, they need more solid relievers. That can be done through trades. But let's not forget, David Robertson is scheduled to come back this season. So, he could be a big help to the bullpen.
Another necessity for this team to go to the playoffs is for Rhys Hoskins to return to his old self. He is batting .207 with only one home-run, and he is a power hitter. He is not playing like himself, and he is not going up to the plate to swing the bat anymore, and if you don't believe it, how about 19 walks to go along with 16 strikeouts. That is absolutely abysmal for his playstyle.
For the Phillies, they have multiple series coming up that will truly test them. They start a series today against the Blue-Jays, which happens to be a doubleheader. If they sweep the double-header, they will be over .500. Then, the next two series for the Phillies will be even tougher. They will go on the road to face the Braves in a 3 game set, and then follow that series up with a 3 game series the Nationals. After that, they repeat that same pattern, except at home this time. 3 against the Braves, 3 against the Nats. This tough stretch will tell a lot about this team, and if it is ready to compete. Only time will tell.