Friday, September 23, 2011
Red Flags- Not the Kind You Want to Fly
The top 5 batters of the Phillies lineup are either hurt or having one of the worst months of their career.
Ryan Howard was producing, but can't shake the pain in his ankle. Hunter Pence was hitting, but he felt his knee pop and is out with patella tendinitis. That's the Phils 4 and 5 spot in the lineup that are currently questionable.
Then there's 1-3. 1- Jimmy Rollins .196/.468, 2- Shane Victorino .170/.539, and 3- Chase Utley .175/.543 in September. The Giants laugh at that.
John Mayberry Jr., Placido Polanco, and Carlos Ruiz are hitting over .300 for the month, but that's not enough.
Offense isn't the only red flag being flown. The bullpen is missing a key component, a reliable lefty. Antonio Bastardo was that man for the first 5/6 of the season, but has fallen apart over the last month. He's not attacking hitters anymore, rather nibbling around the edges and putting himself in counts where he's walking them or grooving hittable pitches so that he won't walk them. He looks tired and confidence appears to be shot.
Bastardo isn't the only faltering reliever, he's joined by rookie Mike Stutes. Since the beginning of August, Stutes has appeared in 17 games logging 20.2 innings with a 5.23 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, and has walked 15 batters. Luckily Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, and even David Herndon are doing well. And with the Phils rotation, maybe that's all the relief they'll need. Don't forget Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick, who both go to the bullpen for the playoffs. Worley might be able to handle setup, and at this point should be given a chance over the likes of Stutes and Bastardo.
In the rotation, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee continue to dominate, but once again red flags run up the pole. Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt aren't doing what is expected of them. Hamels has given up 7 homeruns in 4 September starts with an ERA of 4.18. Oswalt has given up 5 runs in 2 out of his last 3 starts to bad offenses (Astros and Nationals).
Hopefully these red flags don't ruin the chances of the Phillies flying a championship flag.
Are you worried?