The Usual Suspects, The Usual Second Half?

phils mugs.jpg

The Phillies open the second half of their season tonight at Wrigley Field.

My second-half prediction? The Phillies play much better than they played in the first half. I base my entire prediction on recent history. (OK, not entirely. They’re also getting healthier, which should help.) The Phillies always have played better in the second half under Charlie Manuel, and until they don’t have a good second half I’m going to keep picking them to have a good one. But will improved play be enough this time? The Braves and Mets are better than previous seasons, so they won’t be as easy to beat or catch in the NL East.

Right?

“I don’t they’ve ever been not as good as us,” Jimmy Rollins said about the Braves and Mets. “We’ve just found a way to get the job done and we’ll have to do it again. It doesn’t have to do with them getting better, it’s about us getting the job done. We’ve been there before so we know how to do it.”

“I don’t really think any other teams in our division matters to me as much as our team does, meaning that we control our own destiny,” Jayson Werth said. “We’ve established ourselves in this division and throughout the league as a powerhouse. Right now, we’ve got some injuries and we’ve got some guys who are out. We’re going to be getting them back. We play the NL East in September, so really it’s going to be up to us. We’re the same team we’ve had the last few years. We have great players. We have guys who play big in the clutch and play good down the stretch. We’re setting ourselves up for a run at it.”

Said Manuel: “We’ve got the second half to play. We can definitely catch up four, five games. At the same time, myself, I like being in the lead. I like being in first place. I don’t think anybody would say they’d like trailing. That doesn’t mean we won’t catch up. I have all the confidence in the world.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

7 Comments

Good quotes by the players and Manuel, Todd. If the bats heat up a bit more and all remain healthy and consistent, then, they should be in great shape to get back up to Number 1 in the NL east. I believe they will. Barb
http://barbward.mlblogs.com

Todd, I think that the outcome heavily depends on the Phillies bullpen be able to hold the fort and Lidge being able to close out games. Utley not being there for the next 5 to 7 weeks certainly hurts, and a bat to take his place probably is needed (I like valdez but there’s a reason he’s kicked around so much).

I’m concerned about the wild card because the West has three very strong teams. Hopefully in September they will beat each other up and the Phils can beat up on the NL East and sneak in. It should go down to the last week of the season.

Todd: Great pictures! I hope that the momentum from the Reds sweep continues on this road trip.

Love the photos! Here’s to “the usual suspects” having a break-out second half.

There should be another lineup of ‘missing persons’, like Blanton, Ibanez, Victorino, Baez and Lidge.

Cubs hammer Moyer and the Phils, still don’t know why Manuel felt the need to lead with Moyer in the 2nd half – why couldn’t Halladay or Hamels go?

I was at the Iron Pig’s game tonight – Happ was a bit wild, he did hit 90-92 on the radar gun a few times, gave up a mammoth HR but it was only a solo shot. He was done after 5 innings. I don’t think we’ll see him in the big leagues this year. DB had a couple singles.

thump: Whe couldn’t Halladay go? Um … All-Star game. Hamels pitched Sunday, so he obviously wasn’t going to go on “short rest.” That’s why.
Charlie picked up the rotation where he left off.

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