As opening week comes to a close there are a few teams who had surprising starts to their 2021 season. To name a few, the Cincinnati Reds leading the NL Central with a record of 5-1, the Baltimore Orioles leading the NL East with a record of 4-2, but to me the Philadelphia Phillies’ 5-1 start to the season is the most surprising. Let's see how Philadelphia got off to this hot start.
We first have to start at the improvements that Philadelphia has made to their pitching staff, especially last year’s historically bad bullpen. The Phillies desperately needed to fix their bullpen. The 2020 Phillies bullpen finished the season with a 7.06 ERA, which is the second-worst combined bullpen ERA in MLB History. They added significant pieces this year, including Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, and Sam Coonrod, and moving former Phillies starter Vince Velasquez to the bullpen with the signing of Matt Moore. This year's bullpen has only allowed 7 earned runs through the first 6 games. The starting rotation has also contributed in a significant way, only allowing 17 hits and 7 earned runs throughout the first 6 games.
The bats are on fire as well. First baseman, Rhys Hoskins has started the season slashing .417/.417/.792 and is currently tied with the Boston Red Sox's J.D. Martinez for the league lead in doubles at 6. Hoskins is currently leading the team in batting average, hits, doubles, runs scored, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. As a team, the Phillies are top 10 in the league in batting average (.262), stolen bases (5), on base percentage (.348), and OPS (.753). The Phillies started the season sweeping the Atlanta Braves and taking 2 of 3 from the New York Mets. Let’s see if Philadelphia can continue their winning ways as they go on their first road trip of the season to face the Atlanta Braves in a 3-game series today.