At the beginning of the season I predicted a measly 82 victories for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, with most of the losses to be squarely pinned on the shoulders of the rag-tag pitching staff. I thought the team's trademark would be a powerful offense to be followed by pitching that couldn't hold leads, but that has been far from the truth; and boy have I been wrong (and I'm lovin' it!). The pitching staff, both starters and bullpen have been excellent this year with a MLB 8th ranked era of 3.93. Our closer, Brad Lidge, exiled from Houston has a perfect 100% save conversion rate this season and is getting himself into the mix for Cy Young votes. The eldest member of baseball, Jamie Moyer, just won his 15th game yesterday and has an amazing 3.78 era. Cole Hamels leads the NL in innings pitched and has settled into the staff ace throne admirably. Brett Myers was a complete letdown in the 1st half of the season to come back from a minor league demotion and put on a brilliant pitching display in his return helping to lead the Phils to a eventual hopeful playoff spot. Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, and JC Romero have played their roles well in relief and because of all the pitchers listed above that's why the Phils currently hold a 1.5 game lead over the Mets for the NL East.
*Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard are now equal in terms of batting average, each sitting at .247. I really don't care who ends up with the higher average, just as long as each of them ups it over the final week here.
*Pedro Feliz's 2-run homerun yesterday was huge. He's not playing as much as he hoped to when he first signed here, but when he does play he plays defense well and has come up with some clutch hits.
*Jimmy Rollins has stolen 45 bases despite being out over 20 games for an ankle injury and being obviously hobbled upon his return. He's now batting .280 with a .348 on base %, and in my opinion that's quality for a leadoff man.
*Rookie JA Happ is set to make his 2nd start in a week in a high pressure situation against Atlanta tonight as the Braves come to Philly for a 3 game set while pitching Jair Jurrjens in the opener. Let's hope Happ can shut the Braves down like he did last week and help the Phils roll on to another victory and game up in the standings.
*Mets lost again. I don't believe in jinxes, so here enjoy this lovely picture...