Posts Tagged ‘New York Mets


PHILLIES: Phirst Place Phils

I wanted to wait a little bit until I wrote this post (don’t want to jinx anything), but that rationale kind of bit me in the behind once Andy Reid went back on his word and made and announcement that could possibly set back the Eagles franchise for a decade.

So, change of plans. I am now going to use this post now as a subtle reminder of what you all should really care about if you are a Philadelphia sports fan.


Along those lines, if their recent play is any indication, they will finish there for their 4th consecutive season.

Phillies fans may be seeing a similar celebration in the near future.

After sweeping the Atlanta Braves in a crucial 3-game set at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies now find themselves in a position that they could have only dreamed of a few months ago. With a 6-game lead in the NL East and a magic number that is now less than a handful, the Phillies are a well-played series away from clinching another NL East crown. With a winning streak that now sits at 10 games and the best record in all of baseball during the month of September, I am going to go out there on a limb and say that it won’t be too much of a problem for the Phillies to solidify their spot in the 2010 postseason.


Think about it for a second.  This is the same team who sat in third place behind the Braves and METS of all teams two months ago. This is the same team that has seen 17 players go on the disabled list, including three players with multiple stints on the DL. And last but not least, this is the same team that almost dealt All-Star OF Jayson Werth at the trade deadline, a move which would have shown that management had ultimately given up on the season.

The fact of the matter is, even with the plethora of shortcomings the Phillies have faced, they seemed have passed every test the baseball gods have sent there way.

Sure, they may have gotten some help. The Mets and Braves showed their youth and inexperience by faltering down the stretch. That was somewhat expected. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger on one of the more lobsided deals in recent history. That, again, was somewhat expected.  However, there is no way anyone could have ever expected the Phillies to play themselves into this position once again.

But, they did.

If you look at most measures of baseball statistics, they are in fact a pretty good indicator of the Phillies prominence. With a current 10-game winning streak, a MLB-best 17-3 record in September, and a NL-best 44-15 record since the all-star break, it’s clear that consistent play at this high level is what ultimately brought the Phillies back into contention.

However, stats don’t tell the whole story. They don’t fully show how the addition of Roy Oswalt, the growth of Cole Hamels, or the stability that Roy Halladay provides has made the starting pitching, not the offense, arguably the Phillies most valuable asset. They can’t truthfully describe how important the recent resurgence closer Brad Lidge has been to the team’s championship puzzle. And lastly, there is no way a box-score and a stat-line can explain how the Phillies have been able to overcome their obstacles and overwhelming odds to virtually guarantee the fans of Philadelphia another post-season run.

Unfortunately, as most of us know all too well, there are no such things as guarantees. Especially when it it comes to baseball in September.

Or October..


PHILLIES: Is Jamie Moyer An All-Star?

As the manager for the NL 2010 all-star team, Charlie Manuel is going to have one heck of a decision to make when picking out his starting rotation for the game that will take place on July 13th in Anaheim.

In addition to the usuals such Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay and Johan Santana, the National League has a couple other starters that should be in consideration for an all-star nod from Manuel and the rest of the NL coaching staff when the selections are made.

What about Josh Johnson? The Marlins ace gets marginal run support at best, but yet is still 8-3 and ranks 6th in IP among NL starting pitchers. Even better, Johnson’s ERA (1.83) is second in the NL, a ranking that is only behind Ubaldo Jimenez in that category.

What about Mike Pelfrey? The Mets righty has arguably been the best pitcher on his staff to this point of the season. Statistics agree.  Pelfrey’s win total (10), and  ERA (2.71) are among the top 10 in the NL, and most importantly, are both better than his teammate, Johan Santana.

What about Stephen Strasburg? The rookie may only have three wins, but his dominance and record strikeout pace (41 K’s in 25.1 IP) has allowed him to live up to hype that no player has ever had to live up to before. Plus, he has given Nationals fans a reason to show up to games every fifth game. That alone should get him into the all-star game.

What about Jamie Moyer?

That’s right, JAMIE MOYER.

Does Jamie Moyer's 2010 resume warrant him a trip to the 2010 All-Star Game?

While his 4.30 ERA is nothing to write home about and his outing against the Red Sox two weeks ago (1 IP, 9 ER) may be one of the worst performances this year by a starting pitcher, Moyer is basically playing with the houses money at this point. Due to the fact that he barely made the starting rotation out of spring training, and is approaching social security status, he is doing more with that money than anyone else his age has done previously. As the oldest player baseball at 47 years old, Jamie Moyer is tied for 4th in the NL in wins with nine, a total that ties him with Phillies ace (and Cy Young Candidate) Roy Halladay. Keep in mind, Moyer has won nine or more games before the all star break TWICE (2001 and 2003). In both those seasons, Moyer went on to win 20 games.

Is it likely that Moyer, at his age, with a fastball which has a speed that wouldn’t even get you pulled over on most interstates and highways, will achieve those numbers and make the all-star team to boot?

Probably not.

But, I am going to play devil’s advocate on this one.

If Charlie Manuel and company decide to do the unthinkable, and give Moyer the nod ahead of some of the superior flamethrowers in the game, they might have a compelling argument. Unlike some of the frontrunners such as Halladay, Lincecum, and even Jimenez, Moyer is probably pitching the best he has all season right now. Besides that slip-up in Beantown, Moyer has won his last four decisions, going 7+ innings in each start (one complete game). In addition his stats and recent pitching performances, Moyer’s presence in the all-star game could provide an interesting challenge for the AL hitters. Could you imagine facing an Ubaldo Jimenez 90-92 mph CHANGEUP in during one at-bat, and then a Jamie Moyer 81 mph FASTBALL during the next?

I know I couldn’t.



PHILLIES: A Team of Ex-Phillies

If you readers have some free time on your hands, take a gander at this.

Nothing like some stats to show how crazy this season has been so far. Instead of seeing the regular names like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, or Chase Utley on top of the charts, players such as Jose Bautista, Martin Prado, and Billy Butler are among the league leaders in some of the major offensive categories.

Crazy, right?

After taking a deeper look into these stats, since I had some rare time on my hands and all, it became a bit frustrating. As the current Phillies appear to be just breaking out of a seemingly endless slump, it seems that now more than ever, the names near the top of some of the lists are players who have been spotted in the home dugout in Philadelphia at some point in their career.

This poses an interesting question..

That is, if you put together a team of the best players who have been a part but are no longer affiliated with the Philadelphia organization in any way other than the history books, who would be on it, and how good would they be in comparison to the current (note that I said current) Phillies squad?

Take a look.

(All stats accurate as of June 19th, 2009)


C: Rod Barajas (.253 BA, 11 HR, 30 RBI’s for the New York Mets): After hitting .230 with 4 HR’s in split-time duty with the Phillies in 2007 (he was the opening day starter), Barajas was left of the 25-man roster at the beginning of the 2008 season in favor of Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz and was granted his release from the organization. After two season as a starter in Toronto, Barajas is now with the rival Mets, and is second on the team in HR’s with 11, one behind team leader David Wright.


Thome was "The Man" in Philadelphia during his two seasons with the Phillies

1B: Jim Thome (.250 BA, 6 HR, 19 RBI’s for the Minnesota Twins): Thome, who hit 40+ HR’s in both his full seasons in Philadelphia, isn’t on this list because of his stats THIS year. In his time with the Phillies, the future hall-of-famer helped rejuvenate baseball in the City of Brotherly Love, in which fans of the sport like myself should be forever grateful for that. With 570 HR’s ( the last one being against the Phillies), 5 all-star appearances, and one Silver Slugger award, Thome is a virtual lock for the HOF, and will go in to Cooperstown as one of the most genuine personalities in the history of the game. While he has spent almost half of his career at DH, if it weren’t for the utter existance of one Ryan Howard, Thome would have most likely played a couple more year at first base for the Phillies, using the band-box that they call Citizens Bank Park and the short porch in RF as his personal target practice. I’m not complaining (Howard has done pretty well if I can remember correctly), but it’s still okay to wonder what could have been.

2B: Miguel Cairo (.263 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI’s for the Cincinnati Reds): Cairo is in this spot because everyone who has played a middle infield position with the Phillies over the last decade is either still with the team, in the minor leagues, is out of baseball all-together, or has the name Nick Punto (Minnesota Twins). Honestly, it’s a toss up between the two, but I will not put in my starting lineup because I still remember him spurning me for an autograph way back when. Karma.  Not a second-basemen by nature, Cairo has made a 14-year big league career out a utility man, second base being one of the position that he has played. I already made my anti-Punto case, so it was either Cairo or Eric Bruntlett here, and Cairo gets the nod because he is actually playing in the bigs and is hitting over the Mendoza line, two qualities that he has over Bruntlett.

SS: Jason Donald (.253 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI’s for the Cleveland Indians): Again, not much depth with the middle infield, but Donald is an interesting case. If he was not part of the deal to acquire Cliff Lee last season, he most likely would have made his big league debut with the Phillies this season instead of with the Indians, in which two disabled list stints for Jimmy Rollins would have most likely brought up Donald to the forefront of the organizational depth chart. Donald, who was considered a top-5 prospect for three seasons with the Phillies and this year with the Indians, has performed reasonably well for a struggling team in relief of Asdrubal Cabrera, who was lost for the season in late May after a gruesome arm injury, and is looking like he could be in the big leagues for a long time.

3B: Scott Rolen (.296 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI’s for the Cincinnati Reds): As the surprise of the year, the Reds, of all teams,  have been in and out of first place the entire season. While Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and the starting pitching may get most of the credit for it, the MVP of this team and maybe the entire NL at this point of the season is Rolen. With that said, he’s a no-brainer for this spot, as he was one of the only reasons that the struggling Phillies franchise stayed afloat from 1996 to when he was traded in 2002, as he averaged 27 HR and 98 RBI’s in six full seasons with the club, winning a ROY award, 3 Gold Gloves, and making one all-star game in the time span.


Love him or hate him, Bobby Abreu was an all-star for the Phillies

RF: Bobby Abreu (.272 BA, 7 HR, 34 RBI’s for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim): Bobby Abreu is the the typical enigmatic Philadelphia athlete. On one end, Abreu was one of the most consistent offensive threats for the Phillies in recent memory,  hitting 20+ HR for six straight seasons with Philadelphia, making two all-star games and winning a HR Derby to add to it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Phillies fans always had a reason to boo Abreu when he was out on the field, as his superior arm strength was overshadowed by the fact that he rarely used his maximum effort to go after balls in the outfield. At this point, Abreu being 36 years old and all, you have to take into account that his skills are going to have to drop off at some point. However, with three straight 100+ RBI seasons with the Yankees and the Angels, he is still and above-average corner outfielder in the bigs.  Note that I refuse to associate J.D Drew with the Phillies (his back-hand slap to the face of the organization when he refused to sign with the club after he was drafted by Philadelphia in the first round in 1997 still makes him public enemy #1 in my book), so it’s not like there is much competition.

CF: Marlon Byrd (.320 BA, 9 HR, 34 RBI’s for the Chicago Cubs): Based on his career, some may view Byrd a surprise pick here, being that he has basically been a platoon player since his arrival to the big league scene in 2002. However, at 32 years of age, he may be in his prime. In his first full season as a starter with Texas in 2009, Byrd hit .283, and set a career high in HR’s and RBI’s. So far this season, after signing a 3-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, Byrd has been even better, as his .320 BA is the best on his team, and ranks third in the NL. And to think, Byrd was at times viewed in Philadelphia as just a defensive replacement.

LF:  Aaron Rowand (.220 BA, 6 HR, 23 RBI’s for the San Francisco Giants): Rowand may be having a down year for the Giants. Ok, a really down year. The fact of the matter is, Rowand makes this team because he beloved by the Phillies fans in his two seasons in Philadelphia, making an all-star game in 2007, and providing the signature defensive highlight in the eight-season history at Citizens Bank Park.

BENCH: OF Pat Burrell (.246 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI’s with the Tampa Bay Rays/San Francisco Giants), 3B/2B Pedro Feliz (.220 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI’s with the Houston Astros), 1B/3B Wes Helms (.272 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI’s with the Florida Marlins), OF Michael Bourn (.253 BA, 0 HR, 11 RBI’s, 21 SB with the Houston Astros), SS/2B Nick Punto (.255 BA, 1 HR, 18 RBI’s with the Minnesota Twins), C Ronny Paulino (.314 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBI’s for the Florida Marlins)


SP: Cliff Lee (5-3, 2.55 ERA for the Seattle Mariners): For a player who only spent three months with the organization, Cliff Lee made about as big of an impact  in Philadelphia as humanly possible. He was the teams ace for the stretch run in the 2009 regular season, and was even better when it truly mattered in the playoffs and the World Series. That alone makes him the sure-fire starter. The fact that he is the proud owner of a Cy Young award, and is arguably a top 8-10 pitcher in baseball at this point of season (2.55 ERA ranks fourth in the AL) is just a bonus.

REST OF ROTATION: Carlos Silva (8-2, 3.01 ERA for the Chicago Cubs), Freddy Garcia (7-3, 4.94 ERA for the Chicago White Sox), Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 4.21 ERA for the Oakland Athletics),  Randy Wolf (5-6, 5.08 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers)

BULLPEN: Ryan Franklin (3-0, 2.40 ERA, 13 SV for the St. Louis Cardinals)Brett Myers (4-5, 3.34 ERA for the Houston Astros), Chan Ho Park (1-1, 5.30 ERA for the New York Yankees), Arthur Rhodes (2-1, 0.30 ERA for the Cincinnati Reds), Tyler Walker (1-0, 3.67 ERA for the Washington Nationals)


The Billy Wagner era in Philadelphia provided some great memories.

CLOSER: Billy Wagner (5-0, 1.27 ERA, 13 SV with the Atlanta Braves): Even though Wagner may have had an up and down tenure with the Phillies, both on the field and in the clubhouse, he will always be remembered for hitting 100 mph on the radar gun in the first night game at the new Citizens Bank Ballpark in 2004. I was personally one of the fans in the crowd who gave him a standing ovation during that game that seemed like an eternity. With that said, after having great years before Philadelphia with the Houston Astros, and bad years after Philadelphia with the New York Mets, “Billy the Kid”  has seemed to revive his career for at least one more season with the Braves, in which a bid to the 2010 All-Star game might be on the horizon for the 40-year old veteran closer.

THOSE WHO MISSED THE CUT: Matt Stairs, Russell Branyan, Gavin Floyd, Rodrigo Lopez, Kyle Lohse, Robinson Tejeda, Vicente Padilla, Jason Jaramillo, Jack Taschner, Lou Marson, Gustavo Chacin

So, that’s the team. Can they compete with the current Phils?


PHILLIES: A Reality Check

At 32-29 overall and currently sitting in third place in the NL East, the Phillies can be summed up (just by looking at the standings and the stats) in words that are a bit unfamiliar to those linked with Philadelphia baseball in recent years.

Mediocre. Middle of the pack. Ok.

While those certainly aren’t adjectives that have been, or are expected to be associated with the current talent residing on the Philadelphia Phillies roster, it could certainly be worse. After all, a team who has produced less than three runs a game on average for virtually an entire month, and has had injuries to the top of the order, middle of the rotation, and back end of the bullpen since day one of the season shouldn’t even be near the top of the divisional race. In fact, considering the NL East division is arguably the most talented top-t0-bottom in all of baseball (my apologizes to those who support teams in the AL East, but the record of the Baltimore Orioles ruins your case), they shouldn’t even be close.

The fact of the matter is, for some odd reason (parity is the likely option),  the Phillies are right there in the thick of things, a striking distance 3.5 games back of the 1st place Atlanta Braves. However, unlike the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins, the two teams that Phillies are sandwiched between in the standings, those who have played their home games in Philadelphia for parts of the last four seasons are in quite a familiar position (a thanks goes out to an article by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Paul Hagen for helping me come to this realization).

And look how those seasons turned out..

2007: 47-48 on July 17th (won the NL East pennant)

2008: 48-43 on July 8th (won the World Series)

2009: 39-37 on July 2nd (made it to the World Series)

By the looks of the weather, moments of daylight, and most calenders, it’s still the middle of June. So, after taking a gander at the schedule and doing some hardcore addition, it’s easy to see that the season isn’t over. It’s not August or September. There are still 100 games left until the divisional winner is crowned and the playoffs are set. ONE HUNDRED. That’s more games than the NBA and NFL has combined.

While there is obviously plenty of time to jump two inconsistent and in-experienced teams for another chance at a World Series ring, it is impossible to deny the obvious nature of baseball logic.

You can’t win games if you don’t score runs.

With that said, If the Phillies recent, but lengthy bout with offensive futility continues and becomes their identity instead of a prolonged slump, it’s obviously going to be difficult for the Phillies to be sitting pretty on top of the division for the fourth straight year when it is all said and done.

Will that happen?

I guess we will find out.

But without having any sort of bias, whether that is being a Negative Nancy, a Homer, or anything in between, look at some of the qualities of this team before coming to the recently popular conclusion of conceding the division when baseball is not even halfway through the season.

Ace? Check. (Halladay, Say no more.)

MVP Candidate? Check. (Compare Ryan Howard’s stats with other NL players who play for a contender, and you’ll see that he’s right there.)

Playoff Experience? Check. (22 out of 25 players have been a part of a World Series bound team. David Herndon, Ross Gload, Halladay are the only ones who haven’t.)

Funny, those are the same qualities that usually separate the teams that participate in the postseason, and teams that don’t.

Don’t jump off the wagon just yet fans..


PHILLIES: Bad Baseball

There is really no way to sugarcoat this one.

The Phillies are playing bad, bad, baseball at this time.

They have lost four in a row (6 out of 8),  including two straight to the New York Mets. If that isn’t bad enough (especially the part about losing to the Mets) during this current 4-game losing streak, the Phillies have not scored a run off of any of the four starting pitchers (28 innings scoreless streak), and have scored a run in just one out of their last 36 innings played. So much for the best lineup in the NL, right?

Don’t jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge just yet, fans.

After Wednesday night’s 5-0 shutout (second consecutive shutout at the hands of the Mets), manager Charlie Manuel called a much-anticipated team meeting. Obviously, it’s not a good sign when a manager has to address his team in private due to lackluster play, but regardless, it had to be done.

Just looking through past moments during the Charlie Manuel era in Philadelphia, whenever he holds a closed-door, no press, team meeting  the players usually respond. Whether that means the Phillies will go out and score one run or put up a ten-spot off of Mets starter Mike Pelfrey on Thursday night, that’s obviously another story. However, something tells me that the Phillies will not get shutout (I know, I’m really going out there on a limb aren’t I?), and with a suddenly confident Cole Hamels 5-2 overall record; 3-0 in May) on the hill, they might actually leave New York without getting swept.

While one victory won’t be the answer to all the problems, going into a big 4-game series with the Marlins with Roy Halladay pitching the opener,  salvaging a series with a victory against the rival Mets Thursday night may go a long way.

If it doesn’t, hey, look on the bright side, at least the Flyers are in the Stanley Cup Finals.


: Phew! Paul Hoover cleared waivers today and was assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In all seriousness though, with the way the Phillies have been dealing with injuries this season, keeping Hoover in the organization, especially with the way he played (.278 BA with solid defense) during his cup-of-tea in the big leagues last week, is worth noting with some enthusiasm.

: Couple injury notes.  J.A Happ, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, and Jimmy Rollins are all in the process of rehabbing their respective injuries. Just a guess, but in about two weeks, we should see both J-Roll and “Lights Out” back in a Phillies uniform (maybe sooner for Lidge).

: The Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed interest in acquiring Seattle LHP Cliff Lee. Wouldn’t that makes things a bit more interesting if the Phillies and the Dodgers matchup for their third straight NLCS at seasons end?



Well, looks like I may have jinxed the Phillies. Game three has just gone final, and Mike Pelfrey and the Mets have shutout the Phillies for the THIRD consecutive game.

That’s right. 27 innings, 27 goose eggs on the scoreboard.

That’s an absolute disgrace, and even worse, it was to the Mets. The three-game sweep of the Phillies brings New York within two games of the divisional lead, a half game back of Atlanta for second place in the NL East, and a game in front the Marlins, who the Phillies begin a four-game series with tomorrow.

Needless to say, if these historic offensive woes continue versus Florida, the security blanket of a lead in the division that the Phillies have had for the better part of the last 13 months (except for three days earlier this season) will be there no longer.



PHILLIES: Rollins Back as the Phillies Roll on..

Jimmy Rollins is officially back in action!

The former NL MVP and catalyst for the most feared lineup in baseball was back up and running at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night, occupying his usual position in the middle of the infield for the Phillies 12-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The return of J-Roll just adds on to the Phillies already stacked lineup

While his presence may not have been needed on Monday, as Kyle Kendrick pitched eight strong innings while Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth put the game out of reach by knocking in 10 of the 12 runs, the game also featured a clearly healthy J-Roll for the first time since early April. When you read the stat line, you will see that Rollins was 2-4 with a double and a RBI groundout in his return. Not too shabby, right?

However, what you won’t be able to see is the fact that  he was able to leg out the double with ease, showing the acceleration and speed that makes him one of the most versatile players in all of baseball when healthy. Also not visible on the boxscore is Rollins’s lack of defensive rust that he showed against the Pirates, making multiple plays in the field that would back up his track record as a perennial gold-glove award winner at the SS position.

Yes, it was just one game. But, the fact of the matter is, if you watched the game against the Pirates, it’s quite visible that the Phillies are a COMPLETELY different team when J-Roll playing. That is offensively, defensively, and even in the clubhouse.  Truth be told, that may not be a good thing, as changing the dynamic of the team that had an NL best 23-13 record entering Monday’s contest may be risky. However, in this case, getting an all-star shortstop and clubhouse leader back in uniform will most likely help, not hurt, a team that has been in the World Series the past two seasons like the Phillies have.

And to think, Chase Utley wasn’t even in the lineup against the Pirates.


: Ryan Howard knocked in six runs and hit his 9th career grandslam on Monday night. He is also virtually hitting .300 (.299 to be exact). The fact that people still complain about his performance (listen to 610 WIP if you don’t believe me) is beyond me.

: If you have been following the Phillies all season, it’s pretty clear that Jayson Werth’s performance to this point is making the front office cringe when thinking about the trade deadline or the off-season. It shouldn’t even get that far. I don’t know how because I’m not a GM or a master in finance, but if the Phillies can figure out some way to sign him to a long-term deal, they need to do it, and do it soon (shaking money of local trees may be the best option).

: To make room for Rollins on the 25-man roster, the Phillies optioned Wilson Valdez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. After watching his defense, especially against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday night baseball, I pray to the baseball gods that he clears waivers.  Besides J-Roll, not many infielders (including current Phillies backup Juan Castro) have the arm strength and range that Valdez showed in his stint with the big club.  After all, defense wins championships, right?

: J.A Happ is not expected back until at least the beginning of June and Pedro Martinez is rumored to be talking to the Mets about a comeback this season. Hmmmm..

: Aroldis Chapman will make his introduction to the Phillies organization this week.  However, it won’t be in Philadelphia. The Reds top prospect will be pitching against Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday as a member of the Louisville Bats. Could be interesting, especially since the Iron Pigs are heading home from a week-long road trip, the finale being a 15-inning extra inning win against the Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A affiliate for Atlanta).

: Between the Flyers and the Phillies both being in action, it looks like the storyline of the Sixers chances of obtaining a top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery will be overshadowed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Oh how I hope for Evan Turner..


PHILLIES: Welcome back, Phillies Bats..

It’s about time…

When the “best lineup” in all of baseball turned dormant for a recent two-week stretch, it’s safe to say that there was some concern among the Phillies’ faithful.

It’s crazy what 21 runs in 2 games against the rival Mets can do to put things into perspective..

After averaging just over two runs a game in the ten previous games, the Phillies offense did a 360 of sorts, and  knocked around the Mets top two starters in the rotation in consecutive games (Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey), something that surely coincided with the Phillies knocking the Mets out of first place of the NL East at the end of the series.

Shane Victorino has many reasons to celebrate during the Phillies weekend series with the MetsYes, it may be the first week in May, but this could certainly be the slap in the face the Phillies offense needed. The player who may have benefited the most from this non-literal act of violence the most may be OF Shane Victorino. With his average hovering of the Mendoza line before this past weekend, Victorino put together a five-hit series, knocking in eight runs in the three games. To add on to everything, four of those runs were on a tape measure Grandslam that would end up giving the lead to the Phillies for good in the Sunday Night Baseball finale against Santana, who would be taken out of the game two batters later after giving up another homerun to Chase Utley (Utley also broke out of a 1-for-12 week long slump this weekend with a five-hit series).

Case and point, both Victorino and Utley in some senses have been a very hot-very cold hitters since they’ve been mainstays in the Phillies lineup. If this weekend could jump start their “very hot” phase, it would be a huge contribution to the top half of the Phillies order to say the least, as Jimmy Rollins most likely won’t be back until the end of May (at the earliest).

I know, it’s the first week in May, and for a lineup that features five 2009 all-stars, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Remember, the Phillies lineup had slumping stretches, during the heat of the pennant race in August for the matter (look at the Philly Phour archives for more on that), and the only thing that came out of that was another trip to the World Series. I’m not saying this past slump shouldn’t be noted, but this past weekend shows that the Phillies offense can turn things around at any point in time, especially 25 games into the season.

However, if the Phillies can carry the momentum from this weekend into a series with the team with best record in the NL (St. Louis Cardinals), the slump really won’t be an issue.

Other Notes

1. Ryan Madson’s chair-kicking exploits are much more serious than initially through. Multiple breaks in his big toe will force the reliever undergo surgery, and miss a large portion of time. My guess..mid-June return. I’m not joking.

2. Joe Blanton makes his first big league start of the season against the Cardinals. What a better way to make your 2010 debut than facing Albert Pujols at least three times.

3. If for some reason Blanton’s health fails him in his first start back, look for Ruben Amaro to charter a plane down south in the direction of  the home of Pedro Martinez (especially if J.A Happ’s rehab continues to be behind schedule). Even he knows the Phillies can’t be consider contenders with Kyle Kendrick and Nelson Figueroa (and other spot-starters) filling out the back end of the starting rotation.

4. Jimmy Rollins can’t shuffle without feeling a sharp pain in his calf. Not good. Especially for a shortstop who also serves as a leadoff hitter and primary base stealer. As mentioned above, look for the Phillies to be playing their games in the month of May  (maybe even longer) with Juan Castro at SS.

5. Roy Halladay. One Month. Five Wins. Three Complete Games. Two Shutouts. Enough Said.

6.  If I were a betting man, I would say the Flyers even up their series with the Boston Bruins on Monday. Just a hunch.

The Philly Phour

August 2017
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