Things to Know about the Philadelphia Phillies

The Mets head down to the land of cheese steaks this weekend for a three game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Here’s some stuff you might want to know about them:

Record: 16-8, first place in the NL East
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Park: Citizens Bank Park. Increases runs and home runs, slightly favors lefthanded hitters.

Quickly . . .
Can they hit? Eh
Can they pitch? Heck yes
Can they field? Yup
Who’s their best player? Roy Halladay. Age 33, and he might be getting better.

CF – Shane Victorino – S
3B – Placido Polanco – R
SS – Jimmy Rollins – S
1B – Ryan Howard – L
RF – Ben Francisco – R
LF – Raul Ibanez – L
C – Carlos Ruiz – R
2B – Wilson Valdez – R

This is not the Phillies’ lineup of yore. Chase Utley remains out with a severe case of jerk-itis . . . oh, wait, a knee injury. He’s out with a mysterious knee injury . . . and four of the everyday players – Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Wilson Valdez — are mired in slumpville. As such, these Phillies are 10th in the NL in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and 8th in runs per game. In particular, Ibanez has shown his age, hitting .169/.250/.229 and striking out in 26% of his trips to the plate, bad enough that John Mayberry Jr. has started sneaking into the lineup against lefties in Ibanez’s place. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ben Francisco take over in left field when rookie Domonic Brown returns from the DL. This isn’t to say that it has been all bad for the Phillies lineup – Placido Polanco is hitting .389, while Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard have been their usual selves – but there’s plenty cause for worry.

4/29: RHP – Vance Worley (vs. Mike Pelfrey)
4/30: RHP – Roy Halladay (vs. Jon Niese)
5/1: LHP – Cliff Lee (vs. Chris Young)
Miss: RHP – Roy Oswalt
Miss: LHP – Cole Hamels

On an inning per inning basis, the Phillies’ rotation has struck out the most batters, allowed the fewest walks, and allowed the fewest home runs in the NL. They’re fifth in ERA – everyone awkwardly glares at Joe Blanton – but way, way in first in future-ERA predictor FIP and its weird brother xFIP. Provided everyone stays healthy and continues pitching more or less the same, the rotation will be as good as advertised. It’s a worthy of the hyperbole. Game 1 goes to Vance Worley, called up in the place of the recently DL-ed Blanton, who has an elbow impingement. The 23 year old Worley posted a 3.36 ERA between Double and Triple-A last season. Harry Leroy Halladay takes Game 2 after throwing a complete game and (approximately) 24,601 pitches in his last start, and the Mets will see Clifton Phifer Lee for the first time since his glorious return to Gondor Philadelphia in Game 3.

Hey, at least they caught Worley.

C – Brian Schneider – L
1B/OF – Ross Gload – L
IF – Pete Orr – L
OF – John Mayberry Jr. – R
UT – Michael Martinez – S

John Mayberry is off to a strong start, posting an .845 OPS in 28 trips to the plate. Everyone else, on the other hand: a .213/.240/.300 BA/OBP/SLG line, with just 3 extra base hits and 3 walks. The bench is a bit stretched with the injuries to Utley and Brown . . . but every team has injured players. The Phillies aren’t necessarily built to weather many injuries, and it’s showing on their bench and in the lineup. It’s starting to look like a .500 team with a crazy good front four.

RHP – Ryan Madson
LHP – Antonio Basterdo Bastardo.
RHP – Kyle Kendrick
RHP – Danys Baez
RHP – David Herndon
RHP – Michael Stutes
LHP – Mike Zagurski

Closer Brad Lidge, replacement-closer Jose Contreras, and not-closer J.C. Romero are all on the DL, leaving the Philadelphia relief corps scrambling for arms. Righthander Michael Stutes and big lefty Mike Zagurski have been recently called up from Triple-A: Both throw a mid-nineties fastball and a slider, both have swing and miss stuff, and both struggle to find the strike zone. The Phils’ pen they’re joining has been effective thus far — 2.38 ERA, third best in the league — but they’re prone to issuing walks and a handful of relievers appear to be pitching over their heads. Ryan Madson and Antonio Basterdo Bastardo (Spelled it wrong twice. I think I’m really paranoid about mistyping his name as a certain bad word)  have been the stars thus far, 2 runs allowed and 26 strikeouts in 20.1 innings between the two, but they also represent Charlie Manuel’s only two reliable options at the moment.

And those are some things you might want to know about the Phillies.



Filed under Words

9 responses to “Things to Know about the Philadelphia Phillies

  1. I think a case could be made for Philadelphia resembling Denethor-era Gondor.

  2. “It’s starting to look like a .500 team with a crazy good front four.”

    To be fair that’s a team the SF Giants won the World Series with last season.

  3. Also, Antonio Bastardo is the name of the relief pitcher… thought it was a typo but you did it twice.

    • Patrick Flood

      I think I’m so paranoid about not typing it as “bastard” that I’ve changed it in my mind to Basterdo. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Come on, .500 team. The NL east is horrible. We’ve been over this. This Phils, as constructed, will cruise to 100 wins. They play too many games against the mets, nats, fish.

    I bet they put a ten spot up tonight.

    • Patrick Flood

      1. A .500 team *with* four of the best pitchers in baseball. And by with I meant plus. Which makes them a 95 win team, or something like that.

      2. Nice try, Bobostrodamus. I see what time you posted that comment.

      • wait, I’m confused (which I admit happens often). They are or are not a .5000 team? I don’t get your qualification, are they only a .500 when there fifth start pitchers?

        btw, bobostrodamus was a nice touch, might change my screen name to that one…thanks

      • Patrick Flood

        If you took Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels off the Phillies and replaced them with four average pitchers, that team would probably win 81 games, 83 games, something like that. I think that’s what I’m saying.

  5. “Hey, at least they caught Worley.” — I’m gonna frame that and put it on my wall, right under the one from Amazing Avenue that reads, “Well, we’re guaranteed one win this series; Livan Hernandez pitches game three.”

    In all mock seriousness, though, every time I read that the Mets are facing a soft-tossing lefty (Livan is an honorary lefty) or a minor league call-up, my worry meter goes off the charts. I hope somebody actually looks this up — I wouldn’t know where to start — but my impression (yes, I do impressions) is that since the start of the 2009 season the Mets are around a .350 ball club when facing minor league call-up pitchers.

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