The Philadelphia Phillies have been playing some of the best baseball the city has seen in over a decade since firing Joe Girardi.
Don’t tell Keith Hernandez that though.
As the SNY Broadcast team was going over the upcoming schedule for the Mets, Hernandez revealed that he would not be calling any of the Met’s four-game series against their arch-rivals.
“I’ve expressed to the front office — not the Mets front office — our front office at SNY, that I hate doing Phillie games. I guess they gave me the series off.” Hernandez joked in the booth.
When pressed on the subject, Hernandez added that it wasn’t due to anything except the on-field product.
“They never seem to disappoint,” he said. “Over the years — and they’re hot right now — but I would like to see them. As far as fundamentally, defensively, the Phillies have always been just, you know, not up to it.”
Hernandez has spoken in depth on the Phillies defensive miscues early on in the season that had cost Philadelphia multiple games.
That was when Joe Girardi was manager though. Since his firing, the Phillies have performed far better with the acting manager Rob Thomson. The Phillies are 39-19 under Thomson and are now 13 games above .500 for the first time since August 18th, 2018.
Phillies Improved Defense
Part of the reason for Philadelphia’s sudden turnaround has been an improved defense under Thomson. In late May, when the Phillies defense was one of the worst in baseball, the team’s Outs Above Average (OAA) was at a -20. In July alone, that number has increased to +5.
New York’s current record against their rivals is 9-3. The Mets have completely dominated the NL East as a whole posting a 37-14 record against the division.
But most of the contests against Philadelphia have occurred before Joe Girardi was fired. The Phillies are a different baseball team now which even Keith Hernandez acknowledged.
It also appears there was already some blowback from the Phillies announcers as well.
Regardless of what goes on in the booth, Philadelphia came into the 2022 baseball season with a bad defense on paper that has only solidified over the first few months.
The New York Mets currently lead the NL East by seven games with a 72-39 record. The Phillies are 61-48, are 10 back in the wild card and have won six in a row. The NL East is the only division in which three teams have over 60 wins to this point in the year.
With a three-game weekend series scheduled between the two clubs, Philadelphia’s new-look club will have an opportunity to show the Mets that this isn’t the same team.
For Keith Hernandez, it doesn’t matter. As one of the greatest defensive first basemen of all time, Hernandez understands the importance defense has on winning baseball games.
And despite the Phillies recent surge, the Met’s announcer isn’t concerned over a statistically bad defensive group.
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