Philadelphia Phillies: Lacking Consistency
Pitching has been the biggest concern for the team so far. From one to five, every starter has looked inconsistent and the Phillies are on pace to allow 405 home runs...405!
Obviously, the number of home runs the Phillies have given up will go down. However, at this point in the season consistency has to be a big concern. Even though staff ace Cole Hamels had a better second outing, he still gave up five runs in only six innings of work against the Padres.
The Padres are a team centered around doing the little things to score runs, and are not a team that expects to hit home runs to stay in the game. But that's exactly what they did against Hamels. It's also what the Rockies did against Chan Ho Park, and is what everyone seems to be doing against Jack Taschner.
Offensively, the team has seen the top of the lineup struggle, something that cannot continue into the summer.
The Phillies' success and failure, offensively, lies in the hands of Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. With both struggling to find consistency at the plate early on, the Phillies have had to rely even more on the longball the usual.
Some of the bright spots the first week of the season have to include both Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley. Both have hit the ground running and Ibanez has been particularly impressive. Not only is this guy a pure hitter; just going with the pitch, but he also appears to be a huge upgrade in left-field.
Utley appears to be, well...Utley, which is a good sign for all Phillis fans. He is turning on the ball with authority again and is getting his arms extended, therefore increasing his power.
So all in all a 4-6 start is not alarming, (considering we have all seen worse starts by this team in April) but the trends we are seeing are. Although it was about time for Lidge to blow a save, for Madson to allow a hit and for Hamels to look human, the consistency needs to pick up if the Phillies are going to contend in 2009.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to metion something about the late Harry Kalas. Not only was he a baseball institution, but his classic voice will be forever assoicated with my finest Phillies memories, both as a kid and now.
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