Rivalry Week (Batteries Not Included)

It sounds like Bryce Harper is looking forward to his first trip to Philadelphia.

I bet he totally checks out the Mint while he’s here.

“Hopefully I get a couple boos,” he told reporters yesterday. “That’d be awesome. … Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me or whatnot. We’ll see.”

Harper is ready for the series. We’ll see if the Phillies are, too. They lost momentum with a pair of losses this weekend against the Red Sox, going 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position. They play their next 20 games against teams with winning records, so they need to improve quickly in that department because there is far less margin for error against teams playing much better baseball than the Padres, Cubs and Red Sox.

The Phillies and Nationals are similar teams in a lot of ways. The Phillies are tied for seventh in the National League, averaging 4.07 runs per game. The Nationals are tied for 11th (3.78). The Phillies are fourth in batting (.265), eighth in on-base percentage (.317) and sixth in slugging (.391). The Nationals are 10th in batting (.245), eighth in on-base percentage (.317) and seventh in slugging (.390). The Nationals rank second in starter’s ERA (2.77), while the Phillies are third (3.16). Phillies starters are first in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.65). The Nationals are second (3.85). Nationals starters are first in WHIP (1.03). The Phillies are second (1.11).

The biggest separation between these two teams is the bullpen. The Nationals bullpen is fifth in ERA (3.26), while the Phillies are 14th (4.89). And that’s after the Phillies bullpen compiled a 3.04 ERA in its last 10 games, holding opponents to a .179 average.

But this is a series the Phillies should win. They’re home. They have played better lately. They have Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels pitching the final two games of the series. And they have plenty of motivation following the last series against the Nationals, losing two of three, Hamels drilling Harper in the back, Mike Rizzo calling Hamels “fake tough,” Jayson Werth saying it is his life’s mission to keep Phillies fans from celebrating another parade down Broad Street.

I can’t remember the last time the Phillies had an early-season series with such potential. Division rivals. Bad blood. Harper. Hamels. Should be fun.

*

Thought Carlos Ruiz would pinch-hit for Ty Wigginton yesterday, but sending Joe Blanton back out to pitch Saturday confused me more. … So Placido Polanco doesn’t have a sore left knee. It’s a sore ankle. … So Vance Worley said he also has a bone chip in his right elbow, and it is something he’ll have to pitch through the remainder of the season.

*

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.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

14 Comments

One key difference between the Phils and the Nats is that the Phils’ pen is still suspect and even after a couple of good performances, they are still the worst in the NL, and hardly to be trusted with a lead of any size beofre the 9th inning….

I’d say it’s going pretty well so far [sarcasm]
And maybe Brad Lidge was right?
And judging from the half-hearted boos for Harper last night, maybe this “bad blood” thing is a media creation?

So far Davey Johnson is right, the Nats’ staff matches the Phillies if it doesn’t exceed it. So who on the Phillies can go now that Junior has put the Phillies in the position of needing to add by subtraction? I nominate Halladay. He is still regarded higher than his performance indicates and his contract only has two years to go. Of course the Phillies will have to eat some of his contract but money would be freed up to address other problems.

First of all, the Phillies aren’t trading Roy Halladay. And if they did, the idea that they would have to eat even a penny of his very favorable contract is ludicrous.

And you know the Phillies are not going to trade Halladay how? Tell us, Pope, how the Phillies retain Hamels without unloading Halladay. And, if the Phillies do not have to eat any of his contract, the more power to them. Still believe they are printing money at CBP, Pope?

Halladay has the most favorable contract of any top tier pitcher in MLB. He did that because he WANTED to be here. The idea that they would have to eat any of it to trade him is laughable. But they aren’t trading him, so it’s moot.

I’m not used to seeing the Phillies lose games because of a lack of fundamentals. Last night it was baserunning, but they have also lost games because of defense and some real poor at-bats with RISP. Unacceptable.

phan52: Couldn’t agree more with both your points. Polly not tagging up late in game and scoring must have been a “senior moment” which I assume is the only logical explanation. On the positive side a nice outing by Kendrick.

Our pitchers suck and our killing us!!! None of them HIT for average or power!!!! How are we going to win games when these guys don’t carry their weight on this team?!?!? (eyeroll)

*are

phan52 is absolutely right. We lost the game last night due to poor fundamentals. Base running, not be able to fly out to score a guy on third base, Mayberry not scoring from third on a a wild pitch. I can go on and on. We had the same problem last year with RISP. Howard and Utley returning is not going to fix this. The coaching staff needs to do more to help the players be better players. Do your homework and study the films.

Where have you gone, Davey Lopes? The Phillies turn their lonely eyes to you.

Its not a rivalry when one team dominates the other. sorry Phils.

You’re right Vic. The Phils have dominated the Nats ever since they were called the Expos. Gonna take more than one good year by the Nats to turn this into a rivalry. That said, the Nats are a better team this year than the Phils. But so are the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers, etc……

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 285 other followers

%d bloggers like this: