Phillies’ pitching is the bigger concern

 In MLB, NL East, Sports

There’s been a lot of frustration expressed by Phils fans early this season about the club’s inconsistent offense. I get it. The lineup’s streakiness – zero runs one game, 10 the next, then back to futility – is annoying. Most of us thought the additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos would prevent this, or at least add more stability.

But it’s still only April, and I suspect the offense will probably be fine.

The bigger problem is actually pitching. Through the first 14 games, in which the Phils went 6-8, the team gave up at least four runs in 10 of them. Three of those were to the light-hitting Marlins, who only seem to break out their bats against the Phillies.

I’m very encouraged by the back end of the bullpen, especially closer Corey Knebel and Brad Hand. Knebel, who was a great offseason signing by the front office, looks like he’ll have a tremendous season.

But the starters have struggled. I really, really hope Zack Wheeler’s issue is simply that he’s behind schedule because he missed most of spring training. If there’s something else involved, such as an injury, the club’s in big trouble. They need Wheeler to be the ace-level hurler he was his first two years in Philly. Ranger Suarez, who also missed a lot of spring training, seems to be coming around slowly. Aaron Nola’s last start was decent, too.

The bottom line is, the Phils aren’t going anywhere if their team ERA is among the worst in the majors. I don’t care how good the offense is.

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