How The Phillies Grew Stronger Through All Their Injuries

JohnContributor IIIAugust 21, 2010

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 01:  Ben Francisco #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with manager Charlie Manuel after a 6-4 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 1, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It seems to many that it is obvious that teams get weaker when their players get injured.  And of course that would seem logical.

But not with the Phillies.

When the Phillies had injury after injury, did they become a weaker team?

No.  They became a better team.

And the reason is obvious if you think about it.  Let me explain why I think it is true.

As I said in my article Injury Deja Vu: A Situation That Happens Again and Again, when some of the Phillies players got injured, other players stepped up and carried the team.

In that way, the Phillies team stayed as good as they had been without injuries.

Or did they?

It seems to me that during the time when the players were injured, and after they came back, the team played better than they had before with those players.  So how could that be?

Well, it could have been because they played against different teams or faced different pitchers or something like that.  But I don't think that's right.  And there are a few reasons why.

First of all, if you look at the players statistics before most of them got injured, it seemed that they were in a slump before their injury.

For instance, Chase Utley was having a good season before he got injured.  But a little while before he got injured, he went into a slump.

Ryan Howard was also having a good season before he got injured, but, like Utley, a little before he got injured he went into a slump.

Shane Victorino was also slumping before he got injured.  And Carlos Ruiz was having a good season, but his batting average dropped just a little while before he got injured.

Joe Blanton was injured, and when he came back, he showed that the Phillies were probably better off with Kyle Kendrick and Nelson Figueroa.

If this is true, that means that the backups ended up helping the team better than the injured players would have, because most of the injured players were in a slump.

And also, when the players came off the disabled List, some of them played a lot better than before, like Ruiz, Victorino, and Utley.

That is one of the possible answers to why I think they did better, and there are a couple more.

After Chase Utley got injured, Jayson Werth got hot.  As you may have heard, the Phillies were talking a lot about the fact that they had a lot of left-handed batters, which made their lineup vulnerable to left-handed pitchers.  But when Utley, a left handed hitter, got injured and Werth, a right handed hitter, started playing as good as Utley, the Phillies basically switched one of their left handed hitters to a right handed hitter. And Wilson Valdez, the backup for Utley, was right handed, and he hit about as good as Werth had been hitting before.

The last reason is mostly based of the fact that others heated up when good players got injured.

For example, when Chase Utley got injured, Jayson Werth got hot.  And now that Chase Utley is back, Jayson Werth is still hot.

So the Phillies have a team with Utley playing like before, but they also have Jayson Werth playing much better than before.

Or maybe it was just that the injuries brought the the team back to reality and gave them a message like, "Man, you've got to get better quick or you're season's going to be over."

I don't know.

But I do think that the Phillies, like the players, were slumping before the injuries, and once the injuries started, they began to heat up.  And after the return of their injured players, they are doing better than before.

And we hope that they continue to do well.




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