Phillies Semi-Weekly Report Card #2

Record since last Report Card: 3-3

Overall Record: 8-4 (1st in division) 

The Phils ended the second week of the season with a loss to the Marlins today, and that means it’s time for our second semi-weekly report card.  Just when it seemed like this team had established an early-season identity of mostly mediocre pitching off-set by spectacular offense, they go out and drop a 2-0 game.  The lesson: it’s a LONG season, and though these grades I’m handing out in April may be interesting to think about, they don’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things.

utleyPosition Players:   Through the first four games of this week, the position players appeared well on their way to posting a second straight ‘A’.  They scored 34 runs in those four games, raising their season average to a whopping 7.7 runs per game.  But, shockingly, over the last two games they managed just one run, resulting in their first back-to-back losses of the year.

The big news at the start of the week was Jimmy Rollins hitting the DL with a strained right calf.  That’s proven to be a small problem so far, as Juan Castro has combined solid defense with timely hitting from the 7-spot in the line-up.  He had big hits in the two come-from-behind wins over the Nats early in the week, and a couple more RBIs on Friday night against the Marlins.

As the week went along, the big news became Chase Utley, who is off to another red-hot start at the plate.  He homered in the first four games of the week, giving him the ML lead with 6.  Another positive trend I saw this week was that Ryan Howard hit a groundball the opposite  way for an RBI single on Monday.  After that, the Nats took the big overshift off.  It would be great if Howard could add that ability to his hitting. 

On the negative side, Raul Ibanez has continued to struggle.  He was 2-20 at the plate, dropping his average to .171, with no homers.  Ben Francisco made his first start of the season in his place today and picked up a double and a walk.  Ibanez hasn’t let his struggles affect his defense though.  He made a big diving catch on Friday night.  I remember when we signed Ibanez and people said he was as bad as Burrell in LF.  He’s no Gold Glover, but this guy catches balls that Burrell wouldn’t get with fifteen feet of.  I think these fielding metric stats still need a lot of work if they’re going to be suggesting things like that.

Position Players: B+

Starting Pitchers:  It was another erratic week for Phillie starters, but I think the big news is what Cole Hamels did today.  He pitched into the 9th inning and gave up 2 runs, one of which was more Madson’s fault.  I still have my concerns about Cole, especially considering his weak outing on Monday, but this game was a great step in the right direction.  Not much to say about Mr. Halladay this week.  He cruised to a win with a line that matched Cole’s: 8 innings, 2 runs.  J.A. Happ had another good outing, but couldn’t go deep into the game again.  Also, he has a slight injury and may miss his next start.

On the negative side, Kyle Kendrick got lit up on Wednesday and looks to be on his way out of the rotation when Blanton returns.  Jamie Moyer took a loss thanks to 5 1st inning runs surrendered on Saturday, though he did settle down to go five scoreless innings after that.  Blanton threw successfully in a bullpen session.

Starting Pitchers: C+

Bullpen:  After starting off the week strong again, the bullpen did take a turn for the worse.  We had to suspect it might be coming.  Bastardo (1 run), Baez (3), and Madson (2) combined to give up  6 runs in Thursday night’s 7-5 loss to the Nats.  The next night, David Herndon came in to pitch the 9th with a 6-run lead and imploded, giving up 4 runs on 5 hits, before Madson came in to finish the game.

On the plus side, Nelson Figueroa has been excellent as the long man, Jose Contreras has been impressive in limited work, and Chad Durbin is yet to give up a run on the season.

Bullpen: C+

Non-Phillies Note:  That 20 inning Mets-Cards game last night was great.  I got home around 7 o’clock and saw it was 0-0 in the 10th.  I watched a couple innings of the Phils game, then watched an entire movie, then saw that the Mets and Cards were still at 0-0 in the 17th inning! In the 18th, the Cards put infielder Felipe Lopez on the mound.  The second batter of the inning was a Mets reliever that had made his ML debut the previous inning.  After fouling off about 8 pitches, he hit a groundball to SS.  The throw went over Pujols’s head, but he went and got it and fired to second.  The pitcher let up well before the bag and was tagged out!  It was madness in St. Louis.  The Mets got a run in the 19th, and they somehow still had Frankie Rodriguez available for the save opportunity, but he blew the save.  The Mets finally won in 20.  Isn’t baseball great? 

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One Response to Phillies Semi-Weekly Report Card #2

  1. bry says:

    Quick note on the pitching staff: I thought Hamels looked fantastic on Sunday and NOT because he had great stuff. In fact, I’m more encouraged than I would be if he had his best stuff. He battled. He looked more like the Hamels (personality-wise) of 2008 than that of 2009. It’s only one game, but definitely a good sign.

    Kendrick looks, in a word, terrible. He is the epitome of a AAAA pitcher and I’m just about ready to say that he just doesn’t have the command to get by on just a sinkerball.

    Despite the boxscore, I did not like Happ’s last outing. He was up near 100 pitches in the FIFTH INNING. He’s a guy that does not have ridiculous stuff, so he’s going to rely on his command to have any success. I’m not saying I’m worried about him because he proved a lot to me last year even being yo-yo’ed in and out of the ‘pen, but I hope this injury doesn’t cause him to miss too much time because he still has some work to do to be a reliable Big League starter.

    Halladay is all that was advertised and then some. It’s weird how different you look at a pitcher when he’s pitching for you team (or even against your team). I had seen plenty of Halladay starts in Toronto, but I never really watched because I never really had a horse in the race, so to speak. Now that his starts really matter to me, I can really appreciate how good he is–beyond the numbers. He’s phenomenal!

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