In Short: Phils go out west, drop 2 of 3 after being largely outdueled on the mound and overmatched at the plate, and then come up with a huge win in a barn-burner finale.
Who’s Hot: Tough call here, but we’ll give another nod to long reliever Nelson Figueroa for securing the win in that last game and notching a big save in the 11th inning of the final game of the series, his first save of the year and the first of his career. A moderately impressive feat for a guy who’s been in the league for 10 years now since debuting with the Phils in 2000. (In a related note, I saw on SporsCenter that another former Phillies great Bruce Chen notched his first career save this week for the Royals, his 10th team in 12 years of big league service) Good on ya, fellas.
Who’s Not: Pretty much everyone, although we’ll give our man Roy Halladay the benefit of the doubt considering his stinker is a 7-inning, 5-run performance. Maybeif the Phils could have mustered some runs he still could have come away with a win. Ryan Madson is the choice here, though, after blowing his second save of the year, bringing his ERA for the year into 2009 Brad Lidge territory (aka over 7). Speaking of “Lights Out,” it looks like he’s on his way back for this weekend’s series with the Mets. Also coming soon, Joe Blanton.
Who’s Hot: The bats went pretty stagnant in the series, and really for the whole road trip, but Chase Utley is still the man right now, having added a few career milestones in the last couple of games. Mr. WFC himself racked up the 600th RBI and his 1,000th hit of his career in the Giants series. In other news, Raul Ibañez has raised his average to .219 for the year. So there’s that.
Who’s Not: Tough to criticize this guy too much for falling off after a ridiculous start, but Ryan Howard has cooled on the heels of his 5-year $125-million contract extension. Shane Victorino has been having a tough time at the leadoff spot, too. The Phils went homerless in the Giants series, unusual for a team who ranks up there with the league leaders in team home runs every year. They can not get back home to Citizens Bank Park soon enough.
NL East standings, up to the minute
- New York 13-9
- Philadelphia 12-9
- Washington 12-10
- Florida 11-11
- Atlanta 8-14
The Phillies find themselves in second place for the first time this season by just half a game. Perfect timing for the Mets series, though, as the Phils will have a shot at taking it back right away if they can put together a good weekend in their first matchup against their division rivals this season.
- 6th in NL in batting, 12th in MLB
- 4th in NL in runs scored, 5th in MLB (no thanks to Giants series)
- 8th in NL in ERA, 16th in MLB
- 9th in NL in runs against, 19th in MLB
- 2nd in NL in (fewest) walks, 3rd in MLB
Next Series: Home vs. Mets
As mentioned before, the Phillies welcome the New York Metropolitans into the friendly confines of South Philadelphia this weekend to try to recapture their spot at the head of the division. The Phightins will send out a struggling Kyle Kendrick against relative unknown John Niese in game 1, followed by Roy Halladay’s redemption tour on Saturday before a lopsided Moyer-Johan Santana matchup looms on Sunday. Trap game on Saturday, with a hot Mike Pelfrey matching up against our boy Roy. Let’s hope the bats wake up a bit with some home cookin’.