Since yesterday was an off day, I thought we’d catch up with how our beloved Phightins are doing this season. Through 55 games the Philadelphia Phillies have a 33-22 record, second best in baseball (21-8 road, 12-14 home, +39 run differential), and are in 1st place in the NL East by a 3 game margin over the New York Mets.
The Phils own the most potent offensive attack in the National League, thanks to big boppers like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez. Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz have been a huge boost from the bottom of the lineup with .300+ batting averages. Jayson Werth is doing what is expected, which is struggle at times with his awful looking swing, then be productive at other times when he amazingly makes solid contact. Shane Victorino is right in line with his ’08 stats, and that’s exactly what the Phils need from him. The only player performing well below their standard is Jimmy Rollins, who needs to bounce back with a strong rest of the season to erase doubts that he’s somehow “lost it”.
The bench is ugly. Aside from Matt Stairs, the role players haven’t done well in their roles. Greg Dobbs hasn’t been able to find the magic that made him MLB’s best pinch hitter last season. Eric Bruntlett is proving he hits less that No-Hit Nunez. Miguel Cairo was a mistake. Chris Coste’s bat is slower than constipated 93 year old man’s bowel movement.
Overall #’s- .264 avg, .809 OPS, 302 r, 120 dbl, 12 trpl, 78 hr, 44 sb, 364 k:221 bb.
What would the Phils record be if they actually had decent pitching this season? The starting rotation failed them through the first 40 games, but has since settled down nicely. However, closer Brad Lidge has blown 6 saves and doesn’t inspire confidence. Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton all began the season horribly, but have pitched well of late. Brett Myers is lost for the season, allowing rookie Antonio Bastardo to jump into the rotation and pitch very effectively thus far. JA Happ was finally promoted to starting pitcher in place of Chan Ho Park and has done nothing but impress.
The bullpen is a mixed bag of goodness, mediocrity, and complete crap. The crap has been Lidge, which has been well documented on this blog. The goodness has been Clay Condrey, Scott Eyre, and Ryan Madson. JC Romero has just returned from suspension, but he’s likely to be a member of the goodness group too. Chad Durbin, Jack Taschner, and Chan Ho Park (as relief pitcher) have been run-of-the-mill.
Overall #’s- 4.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 395 k:183 bb, 81 hr, 26 quality starts, .265 avg, .788 OPS.
The defense has been the best in the majors, with Jimmy Rollins continuing to flash Gold Glove skills despite offensive ineptness. Chooch, Utley, and Vic keep it strong up the middle. Feliz is as reliable as they come at 3rd, Ibanez is a big improvement over Burrell, and Werth is decent. The big story has been the emergence of Howard’s defensive prowess.
*Courtesy of loyal reader Rob, it's his brother Matt on the right.