Some telling Phillies stats from the first 16 games
Let's take a look at some assorted Phillies stats that help explain how they've played these first two weeks and how some of their young, key players have developed.
First up: Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins.
(All pictures courtesy of USA Today Images)
New level for Nola
Aaron Nola made a big jump in 2017 and looks like he's primed to reach an even higher level in his fourth big-league season.
Over his last 22 starts, Nola has a 2.87 ERA with 152 strikeouts in 141 1/3 innings. His opponents have hit .220 over that span.
Lately, right-handed hitters have barely touched Nola. They're 4 for 32 this season, batting just .125 with a walk and 10 strikeouts.
Nola will be 25 years old on June 4. This age 24-25 season is when many top-tier pitchers come into their own. It's when Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez won their Cy Young awards, when Tom Glavine won his first and when Greg Maddux began his run of dominance.
It's an important year for Nola, who could be viewed as a top-10 starting pitcher by the end of it.
How's this for clutch: Since arriving in the majors last Aug. 13, Rhys Hoskins leads the majors in home runs (seven), extra-base hits (13), RBIs (41) and walks (19) with runners in scoring position.
Hoskins' clutch two-run double in the 10th inning Tuesday night won the Phillies their 10th game of the season.
Fans tire of hearing "but he's hitting the ball hard" when the results aren't showing, but Carlos Santana really has been unlucky.
His .128 batting average on balls in play is the lowest in the National League, even though he has one of the highest hard-hit ball rates in the NL. His 40.8 percent mark is the same as Buster Posey's and Posey is hitting .313.
Santana has a higher rate of hard-hit balls than Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant.
The numbers will normalize. Santana will be at .250 with a .365 OBP and 20-plus homers by season's end.
Kingery's fast start
Scott Kingery's 12 RBIs are the most by a Phillies rookie in April since 1936.
The Phils' rookie record for RBIs in April is 17, so Kingery has a dozen games left to drive in six runs.
The only other rookie in the majors to drive in double-digit runs so far? Shohei Ohtani.
Kingery's 2-strike approach
Success with two strikes is the sign of a good hitter and Scott Kingery has been money in those situations so far.
In 16 different plate appearances, Kingery has started down 0-2. In those scenarios, he's gone 6 for 15 with four doubles and a walk. In fact, all but one of his seven doubles have come with two strikes.
In the early going, he's shown the Phillies he can be both a run producer and catalyst.
By now, you've likely heard that Victor Arano has pitched the equivalent of a perfect game over his last eight relief appearances.
Dating back to the end of 2017, Arano has retired 28 consecutive batters, including all 22 he's faced this season. He's the first Phillies reliever since Jerry Spradlin in 1997 to begin a season with at least six straight perfect innings.
Arano was one of two players the Phillies acquired from the Dodgers in August 2014 for Roberto Hernandez. Triple A utility man Jesmuel Valentin was the other. What a strong return for a journeyman No. 5 starter at the end of his career.
Herrera keeps hittin'
For all of the head-shaking decisions he makes on the field, Odubel Herrera just keeps on hitting and playing impressive center field defense.
Since the start of 2017, Herrera leads the National League with 47 doubles.
And Herrera, who's as streaky as they come, is off to yet another hot start. Tuesday night was his 85th game in the month of April and he's hit .300 with a .387 OBP, his highest in any month.
What to make of the NL East
Entering Tuesday night, the NL East had 42 wins, second most among the six divisions to only the AL West.
Excluding the lowly Marlins, the NL East has gone 17-7 against all other divisions.
The Braves' offense and Mets' bullpen will come back to Earth, and the Phillies certainly benefitted from an easy early-season schedule. The Nationals will likely run away with the division by midsummer, but all three of the Phils (78.5), Mets (81) and Braves (75) could exceed their over-under win totals.