Saturday, May 09, 2009
1st, Concern, Falling
With last night's 10-6 victory over the Braves, the Phils retained 1st place of the NL East with a record of 15-12. Considering they have a MLB worst starting rotation (covered yesterday) and bench right now (look below), we should consider this season a success. 1st place is 1st place no matter which way you slice and dice it, so without beating a dead horse until the rank gas billows from it, I'll leave it at that- 1st Place.
Brad Lidge was perfect in 2008. His era was minuscule, his pitches were crisp, his focus was unwavering. 2008 is over. "Lights Out" Lidge apparently discarded his "conservation" model and has given the middle finger to Mother Earth and saving the planet, because he's been leaving the lights on all season long. He's surrendered 5 homeruns in just 11.2 innings, he's giving up nearly a run per inning, and his pitches are all over the place. Remember this man was a Houston castoff that found a home in Philly through regaining his early career mojo, but currently he resembles the pitcher that got whiplash watching a Pujols' bomb in the 2005 playoffs. We need the dominate Lidge back, or we're F'd in the A.
Our bench is bad. Just how bad? So bad that I wish Miguel Cairo would extend the courtesy that Alex Gonzalez did for us back in 2006. Stairs has been the only positive thing to come to the plate in late innings. Dobbs, Coste, Bruntlett, and Cairo have been terrible. Combined bench totals: 21-119 for a .176 batting average. I know the starting lineup is the key to the offense, but a weak bench in the NL hurts.
Phillies catchers are also ranked dead last in the majors. Ruiz, Coste, and Marson: 18-90 (.200 avg), 7 r, 6 dbl, 1 hr, 6 rbi. Ronny Paulino and Jason Jaramillo: 24-82 (.293 avg), 9 r, 9 dbl, 1 hr, 10 rbi, 2 sb.
Rewind to April 26th when the Pirates were 11-7 and starting to believe they actually had a competitive team that might just snap the franchise's long losing demise. Now jump back to present day and you'll find a team that has won only 1 game in their last 11 to drop to 12-17.