Before the season started there was a lot of speculation and worry that this team would underperform and that the fans and the franchise was in for a historically bad year. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it started out; during the month of April, the Phillies went 8-15 with a 6 game losing streak sprinkled in as well.
Things were looking gloomy for the fan base and for the players in the clubhouse until the series started with the in-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies dropped the first two games of the series and things just were not looking good for the Fightin’ Phils. The third game of the series started and the Phillies ace Cole Hamels looked to turn things around and get the team back on track. The game ended in historic fashion, as Jeff Francoeur threw out the potential tying run at the plate lifting the Phillies to a 3-2 victory and launching Papelbon into Phillies history books as the team’s saves leader.
The following weekend series was against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and all of the hype and excitement of Maikel Franco finally getting a real shot at Major League action swirled around Philadelphia. He put up very impressive numbers in the minors and there was speculation to whether or not they would translate into the show. Franco was not as hyped as the likes of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or even Kris Bryant, but the fan base knew that this was something to finally get excited about. Franco’s first game didn’t end as we all hoped but it was only the calm before the storm. After that first game, Franco went on a tear and ended up hitting his first career homerun in the process.
During the six game win streak it seemed like everything was breaking the Phillies way. There was everything from blow out victories to magical come back wins. One of the big parts of the streak was timely hitting, something that this team has been lacking for quite some time. Odubel Herrera has been a one of the main contributors in that aspect and we even learned of a new nick name for him “El Torito”. It’s a nick name that Herrera was given to as a child growing up by his father and it stuck all the way through his career in Major League Baseball, the nick name in Spanish is “the little bull”. In fact, the Phillies have a stuffed bull that sits in the clubhouse during games for good luck. If you have noticed, after big hits, Herrera likes to put his hands up on his helmet to represent bull’s horns. He’s been doing this since the spring and it seems to have been working for him, Herrera is leading the Phillies in doubles this season and has been a good addition to the outfield.
Whether you want this team to win and keep climbing up the NL East standings, or if you just want to show other teams value for possible trade pieces, winning will benefit both of those causes. No one knows exactly how this season will play out, but winning games and having a good clubhouse attitude to keep the Philly Phaith alive doesn’t hurt at all.