Takeaways from the Phillies First Series of 2017.

Apr 6, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Daniel Nava (25) is congratulated by third base coach Juan Samuel (8) after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Daniel Nava (25) is congratulated by third base coach Juan Samuel (8) after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

After the opening series, the Phillies are off to a rocky start. What are the takeaways from these three games?

The 2017 season is underway and the Phillies are 1-2 after a series against another rebuilding team the Cincinnati Reds. What have we learned in the first three games of the season? What can we expect for the remaining 159 games of the season? I delved into some reasonable reactions, as well as some that are probably too early to tell.

Is Daniel Nava trade bait?

The 34-year-old journeyman outfielder Daniel Nava found his way on the Phillies bench after a great spring, where he hit .347. Nava made the team as the last bench hitter for the Phillies. He continued that early success in his first game of the 2017 season Thursday afternoon when he hit two home runs against the Reds.

The two home runs in one game is one less than Nava has hit in his since 2014. Nava will probably only see playing time against right-handed pitchers once or twice a week to give Howie Kendrick a day off. But he can still provide value for the Phillies in the future. When Nava signed with the Phillies back in December he was seen as organizational depth. Now he could be a valuable bench piece that the Phillies could flip at the deadline.

The New Phillies Bullpen is Good, Adam Morgan is Not.

There are a couple of new faces in the bullpen for the Phillies in 2017. Matt Klentak addressed the need of bullpen depth in the offseason when he added veteran right-handers Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek.

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In the three games so far the pitchers in the bullpen not named Adam Morgan have surrendered 4 hits and two runs, all from a home run against Jeanmar Gomez, while striking out seven. It is an extremely small sample size but the new additions looked great, Hector Neris still has a disgusting splitter, and Gomez was able to get soft contact other than the home run. Unlike last year, for the most part, the bullpen will not be giving fans daily heart palpitations.

On the other hand, Adam Morgan is still bad. Morgan made the team as the second left-hander in the bullpen and as the long reliever. In Morgan’s first appearance in 2017, he gave up two home runs that scored three in 2 and 1/3 innings. The first home run was against Reds reliever(!!!) Michael Lorenzen and the second coming from Adam Duvall. Adam Morgan was very bad in 2016, 2017 could be worse.

What is Wrong with Tommy Joseph?

Mar 30, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph (19) singles during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Tommy Joseph entered the season as the starting first baseman with no competition for the spot. But Joseph started the season terribly against Cincinnati. He started the first two games and replaced Brock Stassi in the third. In those three games, Joseph is 0-10 with 5 strikeouts. He didn’t look comfortable at the plate in any of the games and helped the Phillies make Brandon Finnigan look like Chris Sale. The struggles for Joseph come as a surprise considering how strongly he was connecting in Spring Training, where he hit .311 and smashed three home runs.

I don’t think the first series is cause to panic with Joseph yet, but how uncomfortable he looked is cause for concern and something to pay attention to in the coming weeks. If the struggles continue maybe we’ll see more of Stassi, or Rhys Hoskins can get off to a hot start and do the exact thing Joseph did last season.

Jerad Eickhoff Will be Great Regardless of Run Support.

Apr 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff (48) reacts as he leaves the field in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Eickhoff is coming off of an outstanding 2016 season. He continued that success in his first start of the season. Eickhoff cruised through his first six innings of the season, mixing his fastball and curveball like he had last season. The only blemishes on his line from his first start came in the seventh inning. He gave up a home run to Joey Votto to lead off the inning, and after Adam Duvall hit a double, Zach Cozart brought him in with a single.

All Eickhoff yielded was two runs and his teammates couldn’t score enough to prevent him from taking the loss. Eickhoff has experience with his teammates letting him down, last season the Phillies averaged just 3.7 runs per game in his starts. Despite the lack of run support that will affect his record, Eickhoff looks poised to take the next step.

The Phillies Are Going to Struggle A Lot.

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Mar 28, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the free agent acquisitions, and the extra years of the development for the young guys the Phillies are still going to be on of the worse teams in the Major League. The Phillies opened the season against arguably the worst team in all of baseball, and they still struggled.

After a hot start in the first game with home runs from Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, the second game brought the fans back to the reality of the team. Brandon Finnegan dominated the Phillies as they wasted a great start from Eickhoff. In the third game, Clay Buchholz blew a 4-1 lead, and Adam Morgan gave up two bombs as the Phillies lost the series to the Reds.

This is just simply not a good baseball team, and to enjoy the season fans should focus on the little positive things. Watch the young pitchers develop into potential aces, see if Franco and Herrera can take the next step forward.

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But be ready for the struggles of a young team. The Phillies have the talent to steal a series here and there from top teams, but it looks like the Phillies are going to be more like the team that lost two of three to the Reds.