Philadelphia Phillies: This Season Is Getting Harder and Harder to Predict

JohnContributor IIIApril 12, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel looks on against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

So far this season, the Philadelphia Phillies have been good. Great, in fact. For some people, this isn't a surprise. After all, they have some of the best starting pitchers in the league. They also have some great hitters. This was all expected. So why am I writing this article?

The Phillies were predicted to win, but the way they are winning isn't exactly how everyone thought they would. In fact, they seem to be playing the exact opposite of what everyone expected. Let me give you some examples.

With some of the Phillies' hitters slumping last season, and with rookie Domonic Brown and All-Star second baseman Chase Utley both injured, their hitting wasn't expected to be as good as past years. But not so.

They have averaged 6.5 runs a game so far this year. They won one game 11-0 and another 10-2. The Phillies' run production has still been high without Chase Utley.

The funny thing is that it isn't as if one player is carrying the team. It seems like each game is won by a different player. The Phillies have had some key pinch hits, and the players filling in for Utley have been playing very well.

Another example is their pitching. Their starting pitching was supposed to be their main strength this year. It is still early, but some of their aces haven't exactly been aces in their first couple games. Cliff Lee has a 7.84 ERA, Cole Hamels has a 5.59 ERA and Joe Blanton has a 14.54 ERA.

One of the Phillies' supposed main weaknesses this year was their bullpen. The Phillies bullpen was not great last year. It was not expected to be much better this year, especially with Brad Lidge injured. So far, their bullpen has been great.

Danys Baez had a very bad season last year, but seems to have bounced back, giving up no runs over 5.0 innings. Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras have each pitched three innings without giving up a run.

So what does this show? To me, this shows that the Phillies are very unpredictable. When they are doing poorly, they can turn it around. In 2007, they came back in the last month of the season to win the NL East title. In 2010, they fought through their injuries to win the NL East title again. 

We should know by now that it is extremely hard to predict the Philadelphia Phillies.