London Series 2024: The Phillies are Coming!

For weeks I have been trying to write something coherent and sensible and balanced about the Philadelphia Phillies but I just can’t. I’m too excited.

I know there are stats and records that should be wheeled out here but really, that’s like asking a kid on Christmas eve if he knows Blitzen’s batting average. Who cares! The Phils are hot!

Ok, here’s a stat for you: the 2024 Phillies are the first team to reach 40 wins and have broken a franchise record in winning 40 games before the 60th game of the season. Not bad, but there is really only one stat that matters and it is this: in less than one week the Philadelphia Phillies will be in London! And no, not London, Ohio, the other London! Our London! I can’t wait! Blitzen bats .280.

While I worry that I’ll spend most of the weekend in a London Stadium shaped glass case of emotion screaming “I love you Alec Bohm!” at the top of my lungs and ripping foul balls out of toddlers hands, if I can keep it together for a minute, here are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to this weekend.

The Phillies Daycare

Back in 2022, having proved their worth on the field as older players were out injured or stuck in a slump, some of the younger guys on the team started to be known as ‘The Daycare’.

Though a few original members have left : Matt Vierling is now with the Detroit Tigers and Nick Maton has joined the Baltimore Orioles, the core group of Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, and Bryson Stott are still here and the Daycare have gone from strength to strength both on and off the field.

Brandon Marsh is now on the injured list and won’t come to London but I still expect some exciting baseball, shoulder shimmies, and high jinx from the Daycare. We may see David Dahl, Whit Merrifield, or Cristian Pache in left field while Marsh is out.

Edmundo Sosa

It looks like Trea Turner won’t be back in time for London so it’s likely Edmundo Sosa will take the field in some capacity. He will most likely fill in for Turner directly at short stop but could possibly play second base if Manager Rob Thompson decides to move Bryson Stott over instead. Either way, I look forward to seeing Sosa play. He has been consistently good both in defence and at the plate since joining the Phillies in 2022. Thompson recently said of Sosa, “He brings energy every day, whether he’s playing or not playing.” One thing’s for sure, the Phillies are certainly not lacking energy this year.

Pitching

The starting pitchers have made a huge contribution to the Phillies success so far this season.

The New York Times recently reported that Taijuan Walker and Ranger Suarez could be in line to pitch in London.

Suarez picked up an injury in last Saturday’s win against the St Louis Cardinals but it doesn’t seem severe enough to stop him making the trip. I think he’ll start on Saturday and while I hope mainstay Phillies aces like Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler will make an appearance, I’d be happy to see Spencer Turnbull too. I’m not crazy about the idea of  travelling from Bristol to watch Taijuan Walker pitch but I’ll take what I can get.

Let’s not forget that the Phils have the best bullpen in baseball too. I’d be excited to see Matt Strahm, Jose Alvarado, and Orion Kerkering.

Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos has had a slow start to 2024. He has a tendency to swing at everything outside the zone (as do I, all the best do) but when he’s hot, he’s hot. I think we’ll see Castellanos hit some dingers out into the Westfield shopping centre. 

I’ll also be looking for some classic Casty catches at the wall and sound bites on par with his previous “We thrive after we get punched in the face.” Although the Phils have definitely thrown more punches than they’ve taken so far this season.

Bryce Harper

I mean, what can I say. Bryce Harper started the season by flipping into a camera well but is on good form coming into the London Series. We are going to see Harper slug against the Mets and it is going to be a beautiful thing. I hope the canoeists out on the Lea River are ready.

Here’s the classic ‘Bedlam at the Bank’ moment from the 2022 postseason to get us in the mood.

The Phillie Phanatic

The greatest mascot in baseball. I’ll try my best to get a photo with the Phanatic by pushing my children forward and pretending that it’s really all about them. Who am I kidding, this is going to be my strategy for the whole weekend. I can’t wait! I love you Alec Bohm!

Featured image credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tom Baker is one of the new writers who joined the Bat Flips & Nerds team in 2024. Check out his other articles and follow him on Twitter @TomBaker1981

Make sure you check out our other London Series primers…

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