Your favorite National League team will not reach the 2009 World Series unless: You’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
Contender #2: Philadelphia Phillies (24-19)
The defending World Series Champions find themselves at 25-20 as of May 27th and a half game ahead of the New York Mets in the National League East. The Phillies have had a mixed bag of results from their top stars to this point in the 2009 regular season. However, Philadelphia has received unusual contributions from players such as Raul Ibanez and Clay Condrey to help offset the struggles from those normally productive players. A lot of the disappointments are geared towards that pitching staff which was so immensely instrumental in their 2008 World Series championship.
Offensively the Phillies are right on track to again be amongst the top of the N.L. As you may expect with a guy like Ryan Howard in the lineup, Philadelphia ranks near the top of the league in statistics such as runs scored, slugging percentage, and OPS, but is only hitting .260 collectively as a team (7th in the National League). The biggest story of the season from an offensive standpoint is Raul Ibanez, who has come out of nowhere to become one of the more feared power hitters in baseball. Did someone say steroids? Just kidding…but seriously, someone may need to test this guy. Ibanez is a career .289 hitter who just happens to be flirting with .350 at the moment. He normally comes in at about 20 HR a season; this year he is sitting on 17 through 43 games. Yes, that means he’s on pace for around 64 long balls in 2009. He’s either been taking hitting tips from Pujols, or prescription advice from A-Rod and Manny. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins seem to have lost a little drive after quenching their championship thirst as both are hitting under .270 this season (.262 and .234 respectively). [Read more...]