Can the Phillies make the playoffs this year?

Chris Warren, Centurian Staff

Can the Phillies Make the Playoffs This Year?

Chris Warren

After almost a decade without postseason baseball, Phillies fans believe that this is the year they can make it to October.

“If they’re going to make the playoffs, it’s going to be this season,” WBCB producer Mike Warren said. “Between bringing back JT and DiDi, as well as adding some much-needed depth to the bullpen, this team can compete in what is now a very competitive division.”

The Phillies had a lot of moves to make this offseason, especially now that teams within their division have become buyers instead of sellers. Between the Mets trading for shortstop phenom Francisco Lindor, and the Washington Nationals having yet another busy offseason, the Phillies needed to check off a lot of boxes if they wanted to compete for a spot in the playoffs.

They checked off their first box by resigning the “BCIB” (Best Catcher in Baseball), J.T. Realmuto. On top of that, they re-signed shortstop DiDi Gregorius to a two-year deal, giving the Phillies lineup a couple more mainstays for the near future.

Their offseason work wasn’t done yet, as they went on to bring in a plethora of relief pitchers for a bullpen that was historically bad in 2020.

“Oh, it was bad, really bad, and I wish I was exaggerating,” journalism major Xander Weinstein said. “We were playing a 60 game season where every single game counts, and we were let down too many times by our bullpen.”

If the Phillies’ comment sections weren’t spammed with “Sign JT,” they were spammed with endless complaints about how terrible the bullpen was.

Enter Jose Alvarado, Archie Bradley, and Sam Coonrod. It may not seem like much on the surface, but these three could prove vital for the team’s success.

If the bullpen was even below average instead of historically bad, the Phillies would have made the playoffs last season. This time, the Phillies bullpen is looked at as a strength, not a weakness.

Although the bullpen took most of the blame for last season, the starting rotation still needs improvement. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler provide one of the best 1-2 punches in the sport. Even Zach Eflin has taken a step up over the last couple of seasons, having earned himself the third spot in the starting rotation.

It’s the back end of the rotation that starts to raise question marks. Over the years, it’s been a carousel of mediocrity when filling out that back end of the rotation. This season, it’s up to lefty Matt Moore and veteran Chase Anderson to put a bow on what can be considered a solid starting rotation.

One aspect of this team that gives fans high hopes is the offense. When healthy, they have a core of Andrew McCutchen, Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Jean Segura, and DiDi Gregorius to build the lineup around.

“If it wasn’t for the offense, postseason contention wouldn’t have been in the picture,” said student Noah Vradenburg. “I just hope that we can build off of last season’s offense now that we have the pitching to support it.”

With this core batting 1-7, it will be tough for most starting pitchers to get through the lineup more than twice. Even at their worst, most of these guys know how to work at-bats and draw walks, Rhys Hoskins is the epitome of that.

Alec Bohm might be one of the few people in the entire world that can say they had a good 2020. Not only did he make his major league debut last season, but the former first round pick out of Wichita State was even a finalist for National League Rookie of the Year.

Simply put, the kid can hit. If he can build off of what was a very impressive rookie season, he could be a mainstay on this team for years to come.

“I really liked what I saw from the kid last season,” said business major John DiVeronica. “I hope he wasn’t a one season wonder, and lives up to his potential. It’s not often that we get to see a player from our farm system flourish before our eyes.”

Up until this point, Bryce Harper has been minimally mentioned. His contributions to the team this season, however, will be the furthest thing from minimal.

Our team’s success starts and stops at the $330 million man. He may not start off strong, but his summer numbers will surely make up for the slow start. He’s too good of a baseball player, and too much of a professional not to do so. After all, that’s why we made him the face of the franchise.

All in all, if the Phillies do what they’re supposed to do, they should (key word: should) make the postseason for the first time since 2011.

There are plenty of outside factors that can change this team’s outlook, and a contested division won’t make things any easier. A Wild Card spot might be this team’s best shot at October baseball.

It hasn’t happened for a while now, but for the first time in a long time, the Phillies have a chance to make the playoffs.