The Hardball Times has an excellent note about the Phillies, which seems fitting considering they are struggling to get back to .500:
Ninety years ago today the Phillies were a .500 franchise for the last time.
That’s pretty amazing, but here is the most incredible line in that note: “To get back to .500, they’d have to average 87 wins a years for the next century.”
Of course, these Phillies couldn’t care less about that. They’re 16-19 and trying to get to .500 for the first time since May 3, and above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. They are 2-1 since Charlie Manuel ripped into his team Wednesday, but they will need to play much better against much stronger competition to make a run in the National League East. I have a lot of people asking me if I think the Phillies are cooked. I don’t believe so, but they have about two months to prove me right before Ruben Amaro Jr. potentially makes big changes before the July 31 trade deadline.
So because it’s Monday and nobody likes a Debbie Downer, here are some numbers that might leave you encouraged (maybe?):
- The Phillies are averaging 4.7 runs per game over their last 19 games. If they had been scoring at that pace since Opening Day, they would rank fourth in the National League in scoring. It’s also a better clip than last season, when they averaged 4.4 runs per game for the season. If they can keep it up they should win more than they lose, assuming the pitching is there.
- Phillies starters have a 3.03 ERA, which ranks third in the league. It goes without saying the only thing that has not been an issue this season is the Phillies’ starting pitching. It has been consistently good since the beginning of the season. (Remove that brutal start against Atlanta, and Roy Hallday has a 2.12 ERA).
- It’s the bullpen that has been awful. Its 5.12 ERA is 15th in the league. It is a very small sample size against the second-worst offense in the league, but the Phillies bullpen allowed four hits, one run, two walks and struck out nine in seven innings over the weekend against the Padres. Antonio Bastardo has allowed one hit, three walks and struck out five in seven innings in his last seven appearances. Chad Qualls said he discovered a mechanical flaw in his delivery, which he said is easily fixable. He threw two scoreless innings over the weekend. And, yes, that was Jonathan Papelbon pitching in a save situation yesterday for the first time since May 1.
Make anything of those numbers?
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:
- June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- June 16: Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del., 2:00 p.m.