The Philadelphia Phillies have ridden the roller coaster the first two months of the 2023 season. Just within the last four weeks they've had a four-game winning streak, a six-game losing streak, a five-game winning streak, and then a five-game losing streak. Following Sunday's win (PHI 2, CHC 1), the Phillies are 22-24 and currently outside postseason position.
"It's great to play here," manager Rob Thomson told NBC Sports Philadelphia over the weekend when asked about fans supporting the team. "Even when they're booing, it's great to play here, the fan support. They let you know when you're playing poorly and they let you know when you're playing well, and that's OK."
The Phillies are well aware it is a long season and there's plenty of time to right the ship. They were 21-29 at the end of May last season, then went 66-46 the rest of the way. That strong finish earned the Phillies a postseason berth and, a few weeks later, they represented the National League in the World Series. There's plenty of time to turn things around.
That all said, Philadelphia's strong finish last year coincided with Thomson replacing Joe Girardi, and no managerial change is coming this season. It's on the players to straighten things out and get the Phillies back to the postseason. Here are four things that must happen for the Fightin' Phils to start banking wins and move up the standings.
1. Turner has to be better
That's the easiest way to put it: Trea Turner has to be better, period. The team's new $300 million shortstop is hitting .257/.300/.393 on the season and he hit more home runs with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic (five in six games) than he has with the Phillies thus far (four in 45 games). Thomson gave Turner a day off Saturday just to kind of reset.
"It's just to give him a little break," Thomson told the Trentonian about Turner's day off. "He can do some actual work with (hitting coach Kevin Long) in the cage. Just get some extra work, take a day. I just thought it was best."