Eight Philadelphia Phillies Stats We Wouldn't Have Believed Two Months Ago
Only July 21st of this year, the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Phils, and dropped the team to just two games over .500 and 7.0 games behind the Braves in the NL East.
The season looked to be all but over for the Phils, who weren't playing particularly well in any facet of the game.
Now, on September 9th, less than two months later, the Phillies have the best record in the National League.
Here is a look at some stats from during that period that we just wouldn't have believed on that July night when we thought our season was over.
8. Cliff Lee: 1-4, 6.35 ERA in August
In the first half of the season, Cliff Lee stood alone amongst AL pitchers as the far-and-away standout for the AL Cy Young Award.
Things have not gone his way since he was traded to the Texas Rangers.
At one point, when this was starting to look like a long season for the Phillies, Cliff Lee's dominance was, to say the least, nagging.
7. Cole Hamels: 10-10 Record
Cole Hamels had a horrendous stretch this season, during which he had a 2.48 over a period of nine starts. Because the Phillies simply stopped scoring for him, he went 1-3.
At its worst, Hamels' record dropped to 7-10, and it didn't look like the Phillies would ever score another run for him.
So what did Hamels do?
Over his last three starts, Hamels has pitched 22 straight scoreless innings and gone 3-0 because, well, when you don't give up any runs at all, run support isn't an issue.
6. Wilson Valdez: 22-13 in Games Where Valdez Has Appeared
Nothing against Wilson Valdez, it is just that this season when Valdez has been in the lineup, it has meant that either Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins has been out of the lineup.
And that is bad.
Nevertheless, since July 16th, during periods of injury to Utley and Rollins, the Phillies have gone 22-13 with Valdez in the lineup, which is pretty shocking.
5. Brad Lidge: 3.38 ERA for the Season
Oh, that horrendous Phillies bullpen. Oh, that inconsistent Brad Lidge.
All Lidge has done since August 1st is convert 11 of 12 save opportunities, while allowing only one earned run and striking out 18 batters in 16.1 innings.
4. Ryan Howard: Fifth in National League in RBI
At one point, Ryan Howard looked like a shoo-in for his third straight RBI title. Then, he got hurt, and when he returned, he started flailing about. He looked just awful.
And yet, with four home runs and 10 RBI at this early point in September, Howard is somehow back in the mix for the RBI title.
3. Roy Halladay: Three Wins Away From 20
Speaking of run support, nine starts ago Roy Halladay was 10-8 with a 2.40 ERA. That was on July 18th, and it looked like the possibility of Halladay making a run at 20 wins in his first season in the National League was a long shot.
In his ensuing nine starts, Halladay has picked up a decision in every game, going 7-2 with a 2.28 ERA.
Now, at 17-10, he is one win out of the league lead and three away from 20.
2. Philadelphia Phillies: 81-60 Overall Record
After 141 games, the Philadelphia Phillies are currently 81-60, 21 games over .500 and sitting atop the NL East.
We have spent the season lamenting how this team didn't have what it had last season, how the injuries have mounted, and how the runs haven't been as plentiful.
It has seemed to be a disappointment after last year's run at a second World Series.
Anybody wanna take a shot at the Phillies record after 141 games in 2009?
Yep, you got it: 81-60.
1. Philadelphia Phillies: Best Record in the National League
At the Phillies highest high this season, they were 24-13 and five games up in the NL East. It was May 17th, and it looked like the Phils would have the division locked up by the All Star Break.
At the lowest low, after a 1-6 stretch, the Phillies were 48-46, just two games over .500 and sitting in third place behind the Braves and the New York Mets, of all teams.
For the Phils to come all the way and reclaim the best record in the National League at this point in the season is really quite something.