Underappreciated performances from members of the Philadelphia Phillies have helped propel the team to recent wins. One of these performances against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday stands out among the rest. When called upon to close out the game in the bottom of the tenth inning, Matt Strahm stepped into a relatively unfamiliar role, but he nailed down the last three outs. This gave Strahm his second save this season and the sixth of his career. Coming into this game, Strahm had four prior save opportunities this season and blew the save in three of them. For his career, Strahm has now attempted a save 18 times. Over the course of his last 15 appearances, Strahm has a 2-1 record with a 1.72 ERA along with a 0.79 WHIP.
In addition to Strahm improving recently, Dylan Covey has quietly been delivering when called upon by manager Rob Thomson. Over his last seven appearances, Covey has a 1.00 ERA along with a 1.33 WHIP. So far in September, he has a 0.90 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Covey has had a career year after making one appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers in May before being claimed off of waivers by the Phillies. Since joining the Phillies, he has a 1-3 record with a 3.79 ERA along with a 114 ERA+, which would be a new career best. Furthermore, Covey has a 3.86 ERA for the season which is on track to be a new career best and the first year of his career with a 4.00 ERA or better.
Dylan Covey has now lowered his ERA to 3.95. He has quietly become reliable but it doesn’t fit the agenda so now one talks about it. This is how solid his month of September has been:
1 IP @ MIL
2 IP @ SD
1 IP vs MIA
2 IP vs ATL
1 IP vs ATL
1 IP @ STL
1 IP @ ATL pic.twitter.com/ewgyS7O0L6
— PhillySportsDaily🔔 (@BenTarzy) September 19, 2023
Other Underappreciated Phillies
There are other underappreciated Phillies who are not part of the pitching staff. Part of why so many of the Phillies’ younger players have improved at the plate this season is because of hitting coach Kevin Long. The Phillies rank in the top 10 of every major offensive category this season in part because of the coaching job Long has done. The teams that Long has been a part of in the past have largely had success. Two of the three teams Long worked for before joining the Phillies staff won a World Series under his tenure as the hitting coach. Additionally, every team Long has worked for has appeared in a World Series with him on the coaching staff. If teams are smart, Long should be interviewing for managerial jobs this offseason.
A player that deserves recognition for a 1.000 fielding percentage so far this season is Cristian Pache. This comes as Pache is also having a career year at the plate. In 40 games this season, Pache has a .266/.338/.500 line with two home runs and nine RBI along with a .357 wOBA, a 126 OPS+, and a 124 wRC+. While Pache may not be the most exciting player on the field, he has a very reliable glove and an improving bat. The decision by the Phillies to acquire Pache right before the season started has paid off in multiple ways. This, along with other players performing well, has led to the Phillies having a somewhat crowded outfield that will have to be dealt with during this upcoming offseason.
The Phillies Approach Their Magic Number
The Phillies are on the verge of heading back to the postseason for the second consecutive year. As things stand right now, the Phillies are 83-69 and hold a 2 1/2 game advantage over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the top NL Wild Card spot. Currently, the Phillies’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is seven. This can involve any combination of Phillies wins and other teams losing to get to the magic number. To clinch the top NL Wild Card spot, the Phillies have a magic number of eight. This comes as the Phillies have 10 games left to play, which includes facing the New York Mets in seven of those games. The last three games are on the road, but the other seven games are at home, which should help the Phillies.
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