Inside the Phillies' hot start

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Entering the season, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had the Phillies over-under win total at 67.

Philadelphia is 22-15 through 37 games, second in the National League East. Its .595 winning percentage is the third best in the NL, trailing only the Cubs (.771) and Nationals (.622). The Phillies are on pace for 96 wins.

How has Philadelphia exceeded expectations so far? Good pitching and just enough timely hitting.

After losing their first four games of the season, the Phillies have won 22 of 33. The only team with more victories in that span is the Cubs (24).

The Phillies have excelled in close games. They're 14-3 in one-run games, the best mark in the majors. They won 16 one-run games all of last season.

Closer Jeanmar Gómez has been an important contributor to their success in close games. He has 14 saves this season, the most in the majors. The 28-year-old had one career save entering this season, and wasn't even the choice to close in those first four games -- one of which the Phillies lost in the ninth.

Phillies starters have been good, too. Their 3.57 ERA ranks fifth in the NL, in large part due to the efforts of Vince Velasquez and Aaron Nola.

The Astros traded Velasquez to the Phillies in the offseason as part of a package for reliever Ken Giles. Velasquez struck out 25 batters in 15 innings without giving up a run in his first two starts. He has given up runs in all but one of his five starts since, and has gone six innings in four of those starts -- in which the Phillies are 3-1.

Nola has gone at least seven innings and given up one earned run or fewer in five of his eight starts this season, the most such outings in the majors.

The offense hasn't been on the same level but has been able to produce just enough to support the strong pitching. The Phillies rank second-to-last in the NL in runs per game with 3.3 but have managed 11 wins when scoring three runs or fewer -- the most in baseball. The Phillies are 11-11 when scoring three or fewer, the only team at or above .500 in such games.

Center fielder Odubel Herrera has led the offense. After hitting .297 with a .762 OPS in his rookie season in 2015, he is batting .336 with a .920 OPS this season. Since moving to the leadoff spot on April 20, he's hitting .375. And he isn't just hitting -- he's doing so with a chance to score his teammates. Herrera's .455 batting average with runners in scoring position trails only Jon Jay and Stephen Piscotty in the NL. He's getting on base, too. He has 27 walks this season. He had 28 in 147 games last season.