After a 235-minute rain delay, the Phillies and Reds came out and played their sixth game of the season in about the worst weather conditions possible. They sat through the soul-sucking delay not because of a rumored wedding at Citizens Bank Park set for Thursday, but because the players wanted their planned day off during an April schedule that features only one more of them. So, they played — and they played sloppier than the dismal weather that had gripped the area since early Monday morning.

The Phillies are now 2-4 through six games and it’s not on poor luck either. They were outscored 39-25 during their opening homestand. Only three MLB teams currently have a worse run-differential.

Whether or not the Phillies’ issues, and there have been a few, are just part of a veteran team having a hard time getting out of bed for April baseball (yet again) or something symptomatic of larger issues will be answered over the next 156 games. But what we do know, or at least should know by now, is this — April baseball lies. Fast starts often fade and slow starts often don’t matter come fall.

Here are some observations after a memorable rain delay and a pretty forgettable night of baseball.

Control the Controllables

In baseball, it’s hard to control the variables. Can’t control the weather. Can’t control an umpire’s calls. Can’t control the way the ball bounces, and sometimes, you can’t control the opponent. There are few things that can be controlled, however, and baserunning is one of them.

The Phillies were comically bad on the bases in the early going last season and the same issue has popped up again this week. Their latest gaffe came when Nick Castellanos was picked off (officially scored caught stealing) to end the second inning last night. That blunder came two nights after Bryson Stott and pinch-runner Johan Rojas were each picked off in the late innings of a tie game.

Not only are gifted outs costly for a lineup that has several players scuffling out of the gate, they’re also annoying.  Some early-season slumps at the plate or arms that need a few appearances to get rolling are understandable frustrations of April baseball. Sometimes those issues get unfairly characterized as symptoms of a team that’s not dialed in. On the other hand, baserunning mistakes are unequivocally representative of a team that is not fully dialed in right now, and it has been a bit surprising to watch given all the talk about getting out to a fast start this spring.

Zack Wheeler Isn’t Messing Around

One guy that has been dialed in is Zack Wheeler. Through two starts, he has logged 12 innings, allowed eight hits, one earned run and one walk to go along with 15 strikeouts. That translates to a 0.75 ERA and 0.75 WHIP — and the Phillies are 0-2 in his starts. They’ll win one eventually, right?

On the bright side, Wheeler has gotten off to a much better start than he did last season through two games, when he pitched a total of 9 2/3 innings, allowed 12 hits, six earned runs and four walks to go along with a 5.59 ERA and 1.66 WHIP.

Plate Discipline Remains an Issue

The Phillies struck out 10 more times last night, but their contact issues haven’t been egregiously poor relative to the rest of the sport. They’re currently 15th in MLB with 54 strikeouts. They’re probably still swinging at too many pitches outside of the strike zone, but it’s way too early to draw any definitive conclusions about what this will ultimately mean for the offense. Through six games, they’ve swung at 33.7 percent of pitches outside the zone. Only six teams have a higher out-of-zone swing percentage, but the team one slot behind is Atlanta, and they’ve scored more runs per game than any team so far.

I point this out to note plate discipline does not always equate to run production. This team needs more it, but selectivity can, at times, come at the cost of an aggressiveness that leads to offensive punch.

For what it’s worth, Nick Castellanos has swung at nearly 39 percent of pitches out of the zone through his first 24 plate appearances. That’s the most of any Phillies regular. He’s just 3-for-20 (.150 BA, .442 OPS) thus far.

A Johan Rojas Problem

It has been a rough ride for Johan Rojas. He’s just 1-for-15 (.067 BA). There’s also this:

The defense of Rojas is well, his defense and the idea that if the Phillies’ big guys hit, his lack of production doesn’t matter. That’s true, but only to a certain point.

Some things to consider:

The Phillies are weakening the impact of Kyle Schwarber’s bat. As they have said repeatedly, they like Schwarber batting leadoff because he can change the game early with one swing. Another thing you hear is that he only truly bats leadoff once per game. Fair enough. Schwarber has looked more athletic and comfortable early on, and in time, his power and on-base skills could work well in a Schwarber-Turner-Harper trio that gets rolling consistently. But what about what comes before Schwarber? He’s the Phillies’ biggest power threat, and with Rojas supplying a total zero ahead of him, it significantly diminishes the impact of the damage he can inflict.

Then there’s roster construction. Carrying Christian Pache as an insurance policy to Rojas significantly hinders the Phillies’ late-game bench options. Take last night’s seventh inning for instance. Brandon Marsh came to the plate with the Phillies trailing by two runs, the bases loaded and two outs. Rob Thomson elected to have Marsh — a player Phillies didn’t start against two Braves lefties last weekend — take the biggest at-bat of the game against Cincinnati left-hander Justin Wilson. Foul out. Inning over.

They could have rolled with Alec Bohm in that spot, but they clearly wanted Bohm to assume Rojas’ next at-bat. Given Marsh has been one of  the few Phillies that looks consistently dialed in right now, the decision to roll with him isn’t unreasonable. But it’s also a strange way to handle Marsh.

Do you trust him to take on lefties, or do you not?

To this point, evidence suggests the Phillies would prefer to avoid such matchups when possible. Last night, doing so would have been much easier with another viable right-handed bench option available to Thomson.

It’s hard to know how long the Phillies can go with two right-handed outfielders who they don’t want to hit in key situations. That said, there are a few ways this works works out: 1) Rojas begins to hit and alleviates the issue. 2) Rojas goes to AAA and they add an outfield bat to pair with the defense-first Pache. 3) They demote Rojas to a bench role/defensive replacement and upgrade Pache with a better bat from the right side. The experiment probably lasts through April, but something will ultimately have to give.