It has been an up-and-down first half for the Phillies, ending on a real positive note. After showing clear struggles at home, the Phillies capped off their first half with a 9-1 home stand that included sweeps of the Mets and Pirates. In this post, I will go into detail of their numbers and the grades of the offense, defense, and pitching.
NL East Standings:
FLA 46-44 (4 GB)
ATL 43-45 (6 GB)
NYM 42-45 (6.5 GB)
WAS 26-62 (22.5 GB)
Phillies by the numbers:
Record: 48-38 (1st in NL East)
Home Record: 22-23
Road Record: 26-15
Interleague Record: 6-12
Runs: 461 (5th in MLB; 1st in NL)
RBI: 443 (3rd; 1st)
Hits: 774 (t18th; t8th)
HR: 122 (3rd; 1st)
Total Bases: 1343 (6th; 1st)
BA: .261 (t14th; t6th)
ERA: 4.61 (25th; 14th)
K: 612 (14th; 10th)
Fielding %: .990 (2nd; 1st)
Infield: The hitting is drastically inconsistent for them to be a first place team but the runs and home runs have been what helped win games. A prime example is Saturday’s dramatic victory.
The Phillies, when on, have one of the best infields in the game. They have gotten a lot of offense from this group, especially from all stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Utley is leading the team in batting with a .313 average. But only Raul Ibanez (.309) and Shane Victorino (.309) have averages above .300, which is a result to the team’s .261 average. Howard is tied for the team lead with 22 homers and leads the team in RBI’s (67).
To go with the two offensive catalysts are two players that have really stepped up offensively for this team. Pedro Feliz is a career .255 hitter but he’s fourth on the team in batting (.293). His power numbers have been slightly down again this year but he’s getting on base and driving in runs, putting him on pace for the best season of his solid career. The other surprise was Carlos Ruiz but he has been so terrible at the plate as of late that his average dropped from .309 after May 31 all the way down to a .235, the results of only 15 hits since then in 87 AB’s.
The big disappointment has been Jimmy Rollins, even though he has been seeing the ball tremendously well in July with an average of .378 and a .500 OBP so far this month. Since July 1, his average climbed from a .205 to a .229 and is still climbing. If he goes on another tear like he usually does at the end of the season, he should be seeing a batting average in the .270’s and an OBP in the .330 range. He leads the team with 16 SB but that number is really down from what he is capable of doing, a result of not being on base. When Rollins is on base, the Phillies will score and score often which will turn into wins. Shane Victorino struggles in the lead off spot and no one else can hit there. It’s up to Rollins to keep this win train rolling.
Outfield: How good has the Phillies outfield been? Well when you have all three of them representing the team in the ASG, that says a lot for the production they have given them. That is the first time since the 1995 Indians that a team has gotten three outfielders to the mid summer classic and the first NL squad since the Pirates in the 70’s.
Up until his injury, Ibanez has been the MVP of the team. He is still one of the main offensive weapons as he had two hits, including a double, in his return on Saturday. For the year he is tied for team lead in homers and tied for second in average. He is also third in average and a contender still for the Phillies triple crown with Utley. His slugging percentage is .649, third in the league and tops on the Phillies. He got voted into his first all star game ever as a starter.
Jayson Werth has been very good again all year in the power category, especially as of late. His 20 homers are tied for third on the team and his 56 RBI’s are fourth. He is also batting .263. and slugging .513. He was chosen by Charlie Manuel to replace Carlos Beltran.
Victorino has been incredible as well, tied with Ibanez for second in team batting. He leads the team with 24 doubles to go with his team high 108 hits. Combines with his glove, Victorino is the most complete outfielder of the group and has gotten him plenty of recognition through out the league as he earned his all star spot winning the Final Vote and could possibly start with Beltran’s injury.
Bench: The bench has been pretty inconsistent all year. Though there have been some late inning magic, it was still frustrating to have guys strike out in the place of the pitcher.
Even though he has torn it up as a starter in place of Ibanez, Greg Dobbs was a complete mystery until he started to get more reps. His average climbed up to a .269 and has five homers and 16 RBI’s. He’s back on the bench and his numbers could easily drop again. Matt Stairs has been their best bat off the bench, batting .283 with four homers and 13 RBI’s. The biggest mystery has been Eric Bruntlett and his .139 average. To be blunt, he sucks.
Two notable call ups have been John Mayberry Jr. (.184; 4; 8), who has been really inconsistent, and Paul Bako (.214; 0; 3), who has been so solid as of late that the Phillies DFA’ed Chris Coste (now in Houston).
Starting Pitching: Who would have thought that the worst starter this year so far was the team’s ace? Who would have thought that the team leader in wins was 47 years old. Who also would have thought that the team’s best pitcher is a prospect that could be a trade piece for a Cy Young winner? With the injury to Brett Myers for pretty much the remainder of the season, everyone else has had to work harder.
Cole Hamels has been terrible. He’s 5-5 with a 4.87 ERA, as the team’s ace! He only has one win in his last seven starts and has only gone past seven innings once. I hate to say this but after he got payed, he has gotten worse and worse as if he doesn’t care anymore. His change up is not workin for him and he needs to work on his curveball to have another pitch to fall back on.
Enough with the depressing stuff, let’s talk about the other three main starters who have pitched well… kinda. Jamie Moyer is giving up a lot of runs and not going the distance but his offense has been bailing him out. He’s 8-6 with a 5.55 ERA and is only averaging under 5 2/3 IP. Joe Blanton has really gotten into form now. He’s averaging 6 innings of work which is solid for a number 3/4 pitcher. He’s also 6-4 with a 4.44 ERA.
The MVP of this corps is easily JA Happ. Happ has been incredible since his promotion to the rotations back on May 23 versus the Yankees. He’s 6-0 with a 2.90 ERA and has lasted about seven innings a start.
Other starters to fill in include Antonio Bastardo, who was pretty solid until his injury, Rodrigo Lopez, who dominated the Reds most recently, and Andrew Carpenter who was solid in his appearance.
Bull Pen: Not much I can say here as this unit has been pretty bad. The lone bright spot is Chan Ho Park in his role, who is going multiple innings and pitched well when Moyer and Hamels fail to get past six. He obviously has embraced his new role after his demotion from starter in place of Happ.
Brad Lidge (0-4) has been such a complete mystery, blowing six saves and battling a knee injury. His ERA is a 7.03. Ryan Madson has also been terrible as he blew a few saves in place of Lidge and is 3-4 with a 3.02 ERA that has re-settled with the return of Lidge.
Other notable players have been Scott Eyre (1-1; 2.16), Clay Condrey (4-2; 3.71), and Chad Durbin (1-2; 4.47). Eyre has been the best reliever of the bunch despite missing about 25 games and only making a pair of appearances in July. He seems to be back to form and could really help the pen in the second half. Durbin has been flat out awful recently and probably needs a wake up call.
This has been a wacky first half but that has always been that way in the past. The Phillies will heat up coming out of the break and into August until they coast a bit. The late September push will also follow as the Phillies can very well easily win 95 games and take the NL East. The Marlins and Braves are not a deep teams, the Mets are a complete joke, and the Nationals just flat out suck.
Offensive MVP: Chase Utley
Pitching MVP: JA Happ
Phillies overall grade: B