Five Things the Philadelphia Phillies Must Do to Reach the Playoffs

Currently, the Phillies stand at 31-26, in third place in the NL East and a game out of the second wild card spot in the NL. They have one of the best pitching staffs in the MLB but their hitters have been in a slump for most of the season. Here are five moves the Phils’ can make within the organization to help secure a playoff spot.

 

1.Promote Seranthony Dominguez to closer and demote Hector Neris

If you haven’t heard of Seranthony Dominguez yet, please become familiar with this guy. After being converted to a reliever in the offseason, Dominguez was promoted to the big leagues in May of this year. Since then, he has been one of the best relievers in all of the MLB, having allowed just 2 base runners in 13.2 innings and 11 appearances for a stellar WHIP of 0.15. Neris has been a disappointment to this point as he has blown three saves in 12 attempts with a WHIP of 1.61.

2.Demote Scott Kingery to Triple-A

This one is tough since the Phillies took the risk on him back in March, signing him to a 6 year $24m contract before he even played an MLB game. After starting off well in the first few weeks of April, Kingery has looked much worse as he has 46 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 176 AB’s this season. J.P. Crawford is coming off the DL soon and will cut into his playing time so it could be good for Kingery to gain confidence down in Triple-A.

3.Allow Dylan Cozens to get playing time.

The Phillies’ 16th ranked prospect was promoted to the big leagues just over a week ago with Rhys Hoskins being put on the DL. Cozens is a power outfielder who had 10 home runs in Triple-A before being promoted to the big leagues. The production from Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams in right field hasn’t been great; Altherr has an OPS of .635 and Williams has an OPS of .718. Giving Cozens the chance to play more could turn out very well for the Phightins’.

4.Supply the Power

The Phillies offense,for the most part, has not been good. Among NL teams, the Phillies are 11th in OPS, 12th in runs scored and 11th in home runs. They have been bailed out by good starting pitching but their power hitters need to start hitting more if they want to make a serious push at making the playoffs. Before going on the DL, Hoskins had just 6 home runs with an OPS of .778 and Carlos Santana has been underwhelming with a batting average of .218 and OPS of .763. They’ll need to do better than that to be able to play in October.

5.Stop Striking Out so much!

To this point in the season, the Phillies have struck out 25.8% of the time, which is the worst in the majors. The one stat that balances out the strikeouts is the fact they walked 10% of the time, which is second in the majors. Gabe Kapler has clearly read Moneyball.  Still, the alarming amount of strikeouts has caused the Phillies’ run production to be decent at best and to have to rely too much on the home run. Players such as catcher Jorge Alfaro (42.7% strikeout rate), Altherr (36.8% strikeout rate), and Hoskins (34.7% strikeout rate) have hurt the Phillies by striking out too much. The high walk rate shows not all hope is lost; if the Phillies can cut down the strikeouts by even 3-5%, their run production will be much better.

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