BSB Phillies Semi-Weekly Report Card #1

halladayThis will be the first installment of a new column here on the blog.  Throughout the baseball season, we’ll post updates on the Phils and hand out grades for position players, starting pitchers, and the bullpen.  The intent is to post the update on a weekly basis but it might be longer than that sometimes.  For each post, the grades will be based on what has happened since the last column went up.  There will also be grades handed out at the one-quarter mark, half-season, three-quarter mark and, of course, a cumulative grade handed out at the end of the season.

So, let’s take a look at the first week of the season, which wrapped up today with a Roy Halladay complete game victory in Houston.  The Phils swept the series and will take a 5-1 record, and plenty of momentum, into their home opener against the Nationals tomorrow afternoon.  Now, it’s hard to get too overly excited about the hot start because the Nats and Astros are two pretty bad teams.  On the other hand, considering the Phils recent history of mediocre to bad Aprils, it’s nice to see them get off to the strong start, no matter who they’re beating.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt to build some confidence and a nice spot in the standings in advance of starting the meat of the schedule.

Position Players:  Granted, they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of pitchers, but the Phils’ bats have picked up right where they left off and they’ve hit the way we’ve come to expect.  They’re leading the majors in runs scored, averaging just over 7 runs a game.  They scored at least 5 runs in each of the first 5 games.  Of course, it’s no coincidence that they scored just 2 today, with Roy Oswalt on the mound for Houston. 

The lone newcomer, Placido Polanco, came back with a bang, as he hit a grand slam and drove in 6 runs on Opening Day.  He didn’t stop there, as he has 13 hits already.  He’s shown some signs that he’s still adjusting to playing third base (like when he didn’t get to the bag in time on a bunt today), but I think he’ll be fine there.

Jimmy Rollins has started to erase memories of his abysmal first-half in ’09, with a hot start at the plate that included a leadoff homer today.  He’s scored at least one run in all six games.  Raul Ibanez hasn’t been terrible, but after his disappearance down the stretch last year and a poor spring, he’s worth keeping an eye on to see if he’ll find his power stroke.  Ryan Howard has 3 bombs already, including a mammoth shot into the upper-deck in right-center field in Washington the other day.  For a guy who generally starts slow, that’s been great to see.

Position Players Grade: A

Starting Pitchers:  Well, Blue Jays fans are probably pretty used to this storyline: there’s Halladay, and there’s the other four guys in the rotation.  To the surprise of no one, Halladay has been dominant, winning both of his starts and surrendering just one earned run in his 16 innings of work.  He also has a K:BB ratio 17:2 so far.  He’s, uh, good.

As for the rest of the rotation, there wasn’t a quality start to be found.  In fact, only Jamie Moyer went more than 5 innings, and he gave up 5 runs in his 6 innings.  J.A. Happ did look good in his start on Friday night, but 103 pitches for 5 innings is nothing to write home about, even if he gave up no runs.  Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick were both unimpressive.  In the end, though, it’s the first week of the season and it’s just one start.  Let’s not start drawing conclusions.  Cole gets a chance to redeem himself at the Bank tomorrow.  You better believe the boo birds will be out if he doesn’t.  I’m sure the hunt is on for a new whipping boy with Donny Mac out of town.

Starting Pitchers Grade:  B-

Bullpen:  For this group, no news (or little news, at least) is good news.  Considering the struggles of last year, and also that Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are on the DL, two of last year’s most reliable relievers (Eyre and Park) are gone, and that no major additions were made in the offseason, this first week has to be considered a big success for the pen.  Ryan Madson converted a save in his only opportunity.  Danys Baez surprised me by hitting 97 on the radar gun in Houston on Saturday night, and Chad Durbin, David Herndon, and Jose Contreras combined to pitch 8.1 scoreless innings.

Bullpen Grade:  A-

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3 Responses to BSB Phillies Semi-Weekly Report Card #1

  1. bry says:

    Doogan, I understand lumping in the starters together and don’t disagree with the B- overall grade, all things considered. But, I’d be interested to hear the grade you would give the non-Halladay starters (not necessarily individually, but as a collective).

  2. Doogan says:

    Hmmm, I guess I’d probably put the other four collectively at C or C-. Considering Halladay’s dominance, and that he pitched 1/3 of the games in the week, I wouldn’t argue with bumping the overall up to a B. B- felt about right, though.

  3. bry says:

    no, i would agree with the overall B-. i was just wondering how low you would have graded the other four. it’s SO early, but it wasn’t exactly an encouraging week for the “other guys.”

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