Phillies Are Fortunate to Be at .500

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Phillies Are Fortunate to Be at .500
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Lest you think that the Philadelphia sports scene is all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows these days, let me point out a sobering truth. The Phillies have not played well at all this season.

 

In fact, I find it just short of amazing that they are even at .500 through 32 games, roughly 20 percent of the season. 

 

The vaunted lineup has been wildly inconsistent and actually ranks 24th in baseball in batting average, sandwiched between the light-hitting Giants and Mariners

 

They still rank sixth in home runs and 11th in runs scored, indicating they can be explosive at times. But this also shows that they have been unable to string hits together, move runners, and succeed with men in scoring position.

 

Despite all of the talent throughout the lineup, everyone knows that Jimmy Rollins is the catalyst for everything. His pathetic .238 on-base percentage and Mendoza Line batting average have set the tone for an underachieving offense.

 

Jumping out of his shoes on the first pitch and seemingly trying to hit everything out of the ballpark, Rollins has a groundout-to-flyout ratio of 0.96. And Shane Victorino isn’t much better at 1.11.

 

In a bizarre twist, Ryan Howard has a ratio of 1.83, a number more typical of a singles hitter than the slugger he is. More often than not, he has failed to drive the ball and has grounded out instead.

 

Chase Utley’s recent woeful home stand is another cause for concern, as questions have kicked up about the status of his hip. One can only hope that there is nothing more than a slump going on.

 

As for pitching, the rotation and bullpen have both been disastrous. The Phillies rank 15th in the National League in ERA—ahead of only the lowly Nationals. They also lead all of baseball in home runs allowed.

 

Brett Myers leads the starters with an ERA of 4.81, while Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer have been shells of the players that the Phillies leaned on so heavily last season. 

 

Opposing hitters have a .406 on-base percentage against Moyer, who claims an 8.15 ERA.

 

The bullpen clearly misses J.C. Romero, who will be a welcome sight when he returns next month. If it’s not already panic time for Brad Lidge, it’s coming soon. 

 

While he was not expected to turn in another perfect season, his inability to keep men off the bases, even when pitching in non-save situations, is an issue.

 

He already has allowed five home runs after surrendering just two all of last season and has given up just one fewer earned run in 15 games in 2009 than he did in 72 games in 2008.

 

Taking all these numbers into account, there should be no mystery about the Phillies' 8-12 record at home. 

 

But there is still cause for hope—high hopes, as someone might say.

 

Even with so many things going wrong, the Phillies find themselves just two games behind the Mets in the NL East with plenty of time to right the ship. 

 

So don’t go jumping off the Ben Franklin Bridge just yet, Phillies fans.

 

The Phillies are still in this thing. And they are still the World Champions.

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