Detroit Tigers Schedule: Previewing the Rest of May
By Ben Rosener
At 24-17 the Philadelphia Phillies may the biggest surprise in all of Major League Baseball.
After continuing the rebuilding process in the offseason by dealing reliever Ken Giles to Houston for a haul of prospects, it was expected that the young Phillies would finish towards the bottom of the standings. That obviously hasn’t been the case so far, but it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia staying in the playoff race all season.
As it stands, the team has an unsustainable -28 run differential. Additionally, the team has scored the second fewest runs in the league—and that isn’t likely to improve any time soon. Cleanup hitter and potential offensive catalyst Ryan Howard has a paltry .236 on-base percentage this season.
Despite the poor offense, the Phillies do have some solid pitching. Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez are building blocks for the future, while Jeremy Hellickson has intriguing potential as an innings eater. The bullpen is solid as well, with Jeanmar Gomez, Hector Neris and David Hernandez spearheading an effective group.
As with the series against the Rays, if Detroit can score runs, they’ll be successful.
Mike Pelfrey will oppose Velasquez in the first game of the series on Monday the 23rd. Justin Verlander takes on Hellickson in game two while Anibal Sanchez take the bump for the finale against Nola.