The Phillies found themselves in first place at the end of April. But after a May that saw them go 12-16, they now sit in third place with a 25-29 record. They are still only five games back of the Mets with plenty of time to get back into the race, but they will have to continue to do certain things well, along with improvements in other parts. Here are some positives and negatives from the month of May.
Positive: Andrew McCutchen has turned things around.
McCutchen’s offensive numbers from April and May are night and day. In April, he had a batting average of 0.169 and hit only one home run. However, in May, he had a batting average of 0.227—not great, but still a drastic improvement compared to his April average.
But the power numbers are where McCutchen has really improved. He hit six homers while slugging at a 0.454 clip in the month of May to drive in 13 runs and score 15 times himself for the Phillies’ offense. If McCutchen continues to drive the ball with authority, it can only help the lineup’s production.
However, McCutchen will need to tighten up his defense in left field, which has been a liability. As McCutchen enters possibly his last year of his contract with the Phillies, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to turn the tide after his slow start.
Positive: The center field problem has been solved.
The Phillies center field situation was one of the most critical problems in April, and May seemed to have solved that problem. The answer to the problem was Odubel Herrera, who (after a slow start) has settled back into the big leagues.
Herrera is batting 0.264 with a solid 0.339 on-base percentage. In addition to the production, Herrera has played incredibly hard with dives into first base and pumps his teammates up after drawing a walk.
Fortunately, Herrera has become the solution for that eighth position, because Roman Quinn is done for the season due to his Achilles injury. Adam Haseley is still working back to the Majors, and Mickey Moniak is developing Triple-A.
Negative: Alec Bohm is officially having a sophomore slump.
Bohm has struggled mightily on both sides of the ball this season. His defensive struggles have carried over from last year; he has piled up eight errors so far. His bat has not made up for those flaws, as he is batting 0.203 with an OBP of 0.249.
Bohm has struggled to get anything going and has not been disciplined at the plate either, which has led to 58 strikeouts—among the leaderboards in the Majors this season.
However, if there is one young rising star that could turn things around, it would be Bohm. He has shown he can be a prototypical pure hitter with a simple and productive approach. Look for Bohm to turn things around in June.
Negative: Bryce Harper has not been healthy.
Harper had a great April. He led the league in on-base percentage with six homers and batted 0.317.
However, Harper has only played 38 games so far. In spring training, he had a shoulder injury. Then, he sat a few games after being hit in the face with a pitch. He is currently on the injured list with a lingering wrist injury that he tried to play through, but he entered a slump before being placed on the list. When everyone is playing up to their potential, Harper is the best player on this Phillies roster. He needs to get himself right so that this Phillies lineup has their most destructive weapon.
After a rough May, the Phillies will need to turn things around before losing their chances completely. Some essential series are coming up for the Phillies this month. They will play the Nationals and Braves back-to-back and then have a big test against the Dodgers June 14 to 16. Their last eight games of June will all be against NL East teams, so it is going to be a critical June for the Phillies.