Five Reasons to Keep Watching the Phillies in the Second Half

It doesn’t matter how many more games the Phillies win, they will still continue to be one of the worst teams in baseball. Since the end of the All-Star Break, Philadelphia has one of the best records in baseball. At 17-7, the Phillies are behind only the Toronto Blue Jays who currently hold a 18-6 record. There is no definite reason why the Phillies are playing this well, and I am not about to ask questions.

If the team’s recent hot streak isn’t enough of a reason for you to watch the Phils the rest of the season, here are five more reasons.

1. Maikel Franco

If there was any doubt at the beginning of the season that Franco was Philadelphia’s future at third base, he has certainly squelched that notion this year. Over the course of the season, Franco has a .277 average, .340 slugging percentage, .490 OPS, 13 home runs, and 48 RBI. In the five above categories, he ranks among the top ten third basemen in all of baseball. He did have a scary moment against the Diamondbacks a couple days ago where he was hit on the wrist by a pitch from Jeremy Hellickson. He was out of the lineup last night, but should be available for Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

2. Potentially Chase Utley‘s Last Season in a Phillies’ Uniform

All good things must come to an end. Since his return from the disabled list, Utley has been coming in clutch for the Phillies, notably last Friday against the Padres with an RBI double to secure a Phillies victory. Utley cleared waivers on Monday and has been linked to a few teams, most recently the San Francisco Giants. He says he is open to a possible trade “out of respect for the Phillies,” and with the way he has been playing as of late, he could be on his way out of Philadelphia sooner rather than later.

3. Last Chance to See Enjoyable Baseball in Philadelphia for Awhile

We all know that the last month has been some sort of fluke for the Phillies. They were supposed to tank even worse than predicted after the Trade Deadline. Obviously that is not the case. As mentioned the Phillies have been playing like the best in the second half, and we should be enjoying the wins while they last. For the next couple of years, at least, the Phillies are going to lose at lot of games while we wait for the farm’s talent to arrive.

Many of the recently acquired prospects, like Jorge Alfaro and Jake Thompson, aren’t projected to reach the Majors until 2017 at the earliest and there’s a pretty good chance the roster could look a lot different after an offseason makeover. It could be worse. Without Andy MacPhail’s presence in the front office, I’m not sure Philadelphia would’ve seen their stars traded. Those trades are of course helpful in advancing the rebuilding process, but great baseball is still a ways away.

4. Witness More Embarrassing Records Set

The Phillies are destined to fall back to Earth at some point, and when they do, they are sure to make a crash landing. As we have seen in the first two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies managed to make themselves look like fools. On Monday’s game, we all knew that with David Buchanan pitching, it was going to be an uphill battle. No one expected him to give up 11 runs in one inning, the first time that has been done by a Philadelphia pitcher since 1938. With the following night’s abysmal performance, the Phillies gave up back-to-back double digits in runs for the first time since 1975. It’s a shame the Phillies can no longer lose more than 100 games. They could have added another record to their atrocious season. 

5. The Young Guys

Aside from Maikel Franco, who I previously mentioned, most of the other young guys are making a name for themselves. Odubel Herrera has hit to the tune of a .342/.373/.479 line in the second half, proving to be a top of the order hitter. Cesar Hernandez has been proving his worth as well, with a .305 BA and .361 OBP in the second half. Cody Asche and Domonic Brown have been putting up great numbers as well, but its time for the Phillies to move on from them. When September rolls around, we could be witnessing some more of the Phillies’ future talent,  maybe even a few of the recently acquired pitching prospects.

Regardless of whether the Phillies continue to win or lose, there are plenty of reasons to continue to watch the rest of the season. Changes are being made and the future is looking bright.

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