34 wins and 31 losses, that my friends is the first time the Phillies have reached +3 in the win column all season. It's almost hard to believe that the Phils have a winning record, because for most of the season I've been pissed, and rightfully so. It's even more difficult to fathom that the Phils are still "in" this "thing" (thing = playoff picture). As of this morning the Phils are only 3 games back of the plummeting Mets and 1 back of the struggling Braves in the NL East. Overall the NL West is kicking major arse, so the Phils are 3 games back of the Padres, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks for the NL Wild Card too. Now, it's only mid-June and I'm not declaring this team fit for a playoff run, I'm just reporting the facts. However, I am sitting here this morning wondering just how high this team can get.
3rd Base Debate:
Today I want to focus on 3rd base. No, you pervert, not the stage between copping a feel and going "all the way", but the actual position on the baseball diamond. Charlie Manuel has trotted Abe Nunez, Wes Helms, and Greg Dobbs out to the hot corner this season. During spring training the debate was between Nunez and Helms as to who should be the starter. Since then Helms has played his way out of playing time with horrendous defense and an anemic bat (.245 average and .606 OPS). Wes has been a huge disappointment in my eyes because I was hoping for 15-20 homeruns from him (currently zero) and adequate defense, but he has supplied neither. In fact, Helms played so poorly that No-Hit Nunez was awarded the 3rd base job for about a month, which also coincided with this site being forced to refer to him as Sometimes-Hit Nunez. Have no fear, the flail-and-bail fruitless hack is back, with a measly 3 hits in his last 35 at bats dropping his season's line to a .252 average and .627 OPS. His mitt remains his only draw, but his bat is too much of a drawback. So that leaves us with an "offensive" player in Helms that isn't supplying any offense and playing worse defense than expected and a "defensive" player in Nunez that is only supplying defense...drum roll please- Greg Dobbs. Dobbs, an offseason waiver wire pickup from Seattle, has been doing a tremendous job at the plate (.284 average and .849 OPS) and has fielded well enough at 3rd (1 error plus 2 mental errors) to warrant the starting nod. I actually propose a platoon with Dobbs going against righties and Nunez against lefties...to hell with Helms.
I've got bad news and good news. Bad news- Kyle Kendrick, making the jump from Double A Reading, has the start today for his MLB debut. Good news- Kyle Kendrick and not Freddy Garcia is pitching. In all seriousness, I hope Kendrick has a decent performance and can settle into the 5th starter role because I do not want the Phils to go into scramble mode and trade away someone for some crappy starting pitcher on the trade market (i.e. Steve Trachsel). So, go get 'em Kyle!