As usual, the Phillies got off to a slow start in April but finished winning 5 of 6, including a sweep of the Marlins in Florida. On a positive note, they are going into May with a record of 11-9 and are only 1.5 games out of first to the Marlins. In this post, I will go into detail of the positives and negatives of the first month in baseball.
-Utley’s hip: He’s fine everyone! He has been absolutely electric in his first month of play. Utley only played about 10 games of spring ball, a major concern for his effectiveness early in the season. Well worry no more. Utley is batting .342 with 7 homers and 20 RBI’s, making him an early MVP candidate. Will he keep this up? Well barring a phantom hip injury like last year, he should keep up this pace and be in the MVP talks throughout the season.
-Pat who?: Just kidding, we still miss you Pat but all kidding aside, Raul Ibanez is no joke. If there were any doubts that the older and slower Ibanez would fill the hole left by Burrell, they are all gone now. He has been clutch all month, including his go ahead grand slam Friday night versus Washington in Philadelphia’s 13-11 win. His numbers going into May: .379, 7 homers, 17 RBI’s.
*side note: Burrell is currently batting .254 with 1 home run and 8 RBI’s.
-Mad-dog: Ryan Madson has started out the season pitching really well. He even put some velocity on his fast ball as it has topped out at 97 a few times. He isn’t doing anything spectacular but he is reliable and is filling the void left with Brad Lidge’s injury.
-Ryno: Ryan Howard is batting much better to start the season than he has in the past. he’s sitting at .288 with 4 homers and 15 RBI’s. He usually heats up in May and is on fire in June-on. A good start will only mean a ridiculous ending.
-Matt Stairs: He’s batting .308 with 2 pinch hit home runs in 13 AB’s. He may very well be the Greg Dobbs of this year.
-Injury bug: Brad Lidge, Carlos Ruiz, and Cole Hamels have been battling injuries to start off the year. They aren’t anything long term but it’s frustrating.
-Cold Hamels: No it isn’t a typo. Only Alex Rodriguez is unluckier than him right now. He’s been hit by batted balls, sprained his ankle, and has pitched the exact opposite of his World Series MVP performance. Look at the bright side, he could have been embarrassed in a book, uncovered in steroid talks, and had embarrassing pictures of him leaked to the public. Way to go A-Rod.
-Home run champions: I’m talking about the starting pitching. They have given up at least one home run in 19 out of 20 games to start the season. Brett Myers is the champion here with 8 home runs in 5 starts (31.2 innings). The team? 40 homers in 20 games. Wow.
-Distractions: Ring ceremonies, rain outs, injuries, and the loss of the greatest broadcaster in Philadelphia history, Harry Kalas. Keep your heads up boys. The season will only get better.
-Series won/lost/split: 3/3/1
-Sweeps: Marlins April 25-27
-Best offensive game: Ibanez 4/27 – 3-5, double, grand slam, 4 RBI’s, 2 runs
-Best pitching start: Jamie Moyer 4/26 – 6 innings, 7 hits, 1 run, 6 k’s,
-Three stars: Utley, Ibanez, Madson