Philadelphia Phillies: 3 Phils Standouts Who Should Be MLB All-Stars
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Charlie Manuel has been riding the world's worst roller coaster with his Philadelphia Phillies team in 2013.
The Phillies recently followed a five-game winning streak that pulled them over .500 with, wait for it, their current five-game losing streak that has dragged them right back down from whence they came.
For God's sake, look at the schedule so far.
The Phillies have never fallen further than five games under .500 to this point. That happened twice (9-14 on April 25,16-21 on May 10).
The Phillies have also been over .500 exactly once: at the end of the recent five-game winning streak, by a single game. You already know how that turned out.
On this non-thrill ride, the highs are infrequent and unimpressive, the lows frequent and dull.
Teams stuck in neutral like the Phillies are generally not the sort to boast much in the way of All-Star-caliber talent.
Yes, there will occasionally be a Jean Segura (Carlos Gomez would fit here too) stuck on a bad Milwaukee Brewers team, as there is this season. Ryan Braun, by the way, has been only OK for the Brew Crew.
By and large, though, good teams have multiple All-Star candidates in July, and bad teams have to find reasons to want to keep playing.
So, you know, good for the Phillies that the following three players actually have legitimate All-Star cases on a team that seems to be taking a slow boat to nowhere.
If his name were "Ryan Braun" and not "Domonic Brown," Brown would already have his All-Star ticket punched.
Brown's numbers are of the type you expect from players like Braun and the Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen. Brown has hit 19 home runs, driven in 47 runs and is hitting over .280.
Brown's six stolen bases put him on pace for close to 20; for Brown to potentially go 40/20 on an offensively asleep team like the Phillies is nothing short of a miracle. Brown should be an All-Star this season.
As expected, the Phillies boast a left-handed starting pitcher deserving of a return to the All-Star Game. Perhaps not expected, that left-handed ace is Cliff Lee and not Cole Hamels.
While Hamels continues to struggle with subpar run support and his own failings (11 home runs and 26 walks in 87 innings pitched), Lee is quietly putting together an excellent campaign.
The Phillies don't exactly pile up the runs for Lee, either. Four of Lee's seven wins this season have come with the Phillies scoring three runs or fewer.
Where Hamels finds excuses, Lee finds enough strikes and outs to win. Lee's 2.55 ERA and 1.01 WHIP are no joke, either.
Backing up the big performances of Brown and Lee is closer Jonathan Papelbon. Sure, Papelbon is overpaid. That's not his fault. What was he supposed to do—say "no thanks" to $50 million?
Besides, at least Papelbon is earning the money.
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are pulling down $35 million in the aggregate to do a whole lot of nothing. Roy Halladay is earning $20 million to rehabilitate his blown-out shoulder. Cole Hamels is earning $20 million to go 2-9.
Papelbon is 11-for-11 in save chances this season, with an ERA under 1.60 and a WHIP just a touch over .70.
The Phillies, despite their overall mediocrity, do have three standout stars who deserve places on the National League All-Star roster.
Who gets to pick that team? Bruce Bochy?
Oh, well, forget it then.
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