Out of all the things that are up for discussion, debate, or argument regarding the first half of the Philadelphia Phillies 2010 season, one thing is for certain.
They went into the all-star break on a high note.
Sure, they may have only scored two runs combined in their final two games, and Roy Halladay may have pitched a nine inning shutout and got a no-decision in the outing, but the end result saw four game sweep against the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds, with Phillies and the hometown fans at Citizens Bank Park being the beneficiaries of three consecutive walkoff wins.
Not bad for a team that has dealt with more injuries than any team in professional baseball not named the Boston Red Sox, a six-week offensive slump, and had their season literally hanging on life support last week after losing a series to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates
On paper, the Phillies may look like they have underachieved for the first half of the season. As the NL champs and frontrunners to return to another World Series, being in third place and 4.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with a 47-40 record going into the break doesn’t live up to expectations. However, if you have watched this team or read The Philly Phour, you understand that their is a common silver lining when you take into account all that is happened in the first 87 games. Looking at the reasons stated previously, things could obviously be much worse. Taking into account the injuries, the slump in May/June, and the three losses to Pirates last week first hand, it’s honestly a miracle that Phillies are still in contention at this point of the season.
It’s even more of a miracle that they have done all this without trading away half their farm system in a panic move.
With the roster from the last two years still basically together and getting healthy, and coming off four straight wins against a top-tier NL team , it’s difficult to predict what will transpire in the next 75 games. There are still so many questions that reside with this team, and it’s future for the second half of the season.
1. Will the Placido Polanco and Chase Utley get back in time to help resurrect the season?
2. Can the Phillies offense start giving Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels more run support?
3. Will Ryan Howard regain his power stroke without sacrificing his near .300 batting average?
4. Will the underachievers (Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez) start playing near the all-star level they are capable of?
5. Will the overachievers (Kyle Kendrick, Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez, Jamie Moyer) be able to keep playing at the level we have been accustomed to seeing during the first half of 2010?
6. Speaking of Moyer, will his 47-year old arm be able to hold up down the stretch?
7. Will Ruben Amaro pull the trigger on a trade to acquire a UTIL infielder, bullpen help, or a top/middle of the rotation starter?
8. Can Brad Lidge find some form of the consistency that was present in 2008?
9. Will the Phillies organization decide to part ways with a member of the Phillies outfield trio (Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez) to make room for phenom Domonic Brown?
10. Can the Phillies stay healthy?
If the majority of the answers, especially the last one, are YES, then I still am confident that the Phillies will come back, win the NL East for the 4th straight year, and make their third consecutive trip to the Fall Classic.
Whether that happens or not, it’s going to be a entertaining next couple months if you are a Phillies fan to say the least.