Record:48-48, 3rd in NL East, 6.5 back of the Braves, 5.5 back of 2nd Wild Card.
Infield:Ryan Howard/1B (.266/.784, 0.7 WAR), Carlos Ruiz/C (.268/.613, 0.2 WAR), and Jimmy Rollins/SS (.258/.662, 0.9 WAR) have all played below careers norms and need to have bigger 2nd halves in order for the offense to produce more runs. Howard will be out at least another month and a half, so Darin Ruf will see the majority of at bats at 1st base until then. When The Big Piece returns, it would be wise to have him only start against righties, that way his hobbled body gets a rest and he will be more effective not having to deal with his nemesis known as LHP. Erik Kratz is fresh off the DL and might be worth starting 2 out of every 5 days, with Chooch concentrating on 3 starting pitchers and possibly staying fresher in the brutal summer heat.
Michael Young/3B (.288/.759, 1.2 WAR) and Chase Utley/2B (.272/.825, 2.2 WAR) are gritty players that despite their aching bodies and being long in the tooth, will grind it out and leave it all on the field. They're leaders by example and have played commendably so far.
Overall Grade: B-
Outfield:Domonic Brown/LF (.273/.856, 2.9 WAR) and Ben Revere/CF (.305/.691, 1.4 WAR) have played above expectations. Each started slowly, but came on strong from May onward. However, Revere is now out for roughly 2 months, leaving the Phils without a true center fielder, unless you count John Mayberry...which you shouldn't. The other starting outfielder has people fooled into believing he's actually a decent ball player, but he can't dupe me! Delmon Young/RF (.263/.723, 0.0 WAR) has started to hit of late, but his defense remains appalling and his bat isn't that wondrous.
Overall Grade: B
Bench:Kevin Frandsen/UTL (.297/.835, 1.1 WAR) has been outstanding in a reserve role. Erik Kratz/C (.229/.726, 0.4 WAR) handled duties behind the dish admirably before his injury. Humberto Quintero/C (.250/.700, 0.2 WAR) even contributed some, although he's likely Triple-A bound with Kratz now back. John Mayberry/OF (.249/.740, 0.5 WAR) is a quality 4th outfielder, but nothing more. Freddy Galvis/UTL was with the club most of the season, but was sent down to the minors to get regular at bats once John McDonald/UTL was acquired. Laynce Nix/OF/1B (.200/.552, -0.5 WAR), has been the only major disappointment off the bench. I'd like to see him waived, allowing someone like Steve Susdorf (minor league career- .305/.806) or Cody Overbeck (minor league career- .261/.771, 101 HR) to try and do a better job in the same role.
Overall Grade: B+
*Little known fact, Lannan is still under team control next season should the Phillies decide he's worthy of tendering a contract.
Overall Grade: B
Bullpen:This is the wasteland where pitchers go to die. Nobody is trustworthy. Papelbon (2.33/0.91, 1.1 WAR) is paid like an elite closer, but his 5 blown saves suggests otherwise. He can still get it done though, and the Phils can only hope he's finished surrendering leads for the remainder of the year. Antonio Bastardo (2.62/1.40, 0.8 WAR) is awesome at times and maddening with control problems at others. Jacob Diekman, Phillippe Aumont, Justin DeFratus, Michael Stutes, Mike Adams and Joe Savery have all been up and down or DL bound (like the rhyme), and overall very ineffective. The Terrible Trio of Raul Valdes, Chad Durbin, and Jeremy Horst are thankfully gone, as they nearly ruined the season. New additions, Luis Garcia and JC Ramirez haven't pitched enough yet to praise or bitch about them.
Overall Grade: D-
All-Star Break: Drink Starr HillStar Hill Brewing is another producer of craft beers that is newer to Pennsylvania. They come out of Virginia bearing "the gift of great beer". I've recently picked up a variety pack and have been enjoying four of their brews.
Grateful Pale Ale- is one of the best pale ales I've had in awhile. Perfect balance between hops and malts that is highly consumable with a 4.7% ABV. The citrus notes are alluring and with a bubbly carbonation that gives it a refreshing mouth feel.
The Love- is a hefeweizen, which means unfiltered wheat beer. Its cloudy yellow color with banana and clove in the nose entices the sense and quenches the thirst for a quality summer brew. They use an authentic Bavarian wheat beer yeast, which sets this beer apart from its other American counterparts.
Starr Pils- a no frills, straight-forward, crisp and clean pilsner. This is the type of beer that goes well with any food, at any party, at any time of the year. I like to refer to this as a good lawnmower beer.
Northern Lights IPA- yeah, hops! With 52 IBUs and a 6.5% ABV, this beer won't crush you pallet, but it will make it happy. Burnt orange in color with a joyful hoppy aroma and juicy citrus flavor, this beer is a winner.