Author’s Note: I was traveling Friday and didn’t have time to throw together a recap for the Nats’ series, so I thought this would be the next best thing. I have a desktop computer; you know, one of those old, prehistoric computing machines? You may remember using one in the 90s to play classic, Catholic school computer class games such as Treasure Mathstorm, Cross Country USA, or Oregon Trail. If anyone is heading out from Independence, MO anytime soon, just remember: Doctor as a profession, buy 8 oxen, load up on fresh veggies and ammo, and sprint for Oregon. Has not failed me yet.
In Short: The Phils go 3-3 in their opening week at CBP. Each game had its own storyline and the Phils never seemed to be a complete team during the homestand. If the pitching was good, the offense struggled. If the offense was scoring runs, so was the opposition’s. Because of the lack of consistency, the Phils squeak out a 2-1 series win against the Nats’ and flail against Florida for 1-2 series loss, the first of year.
Who’s Hot- Chase Utley. No contest. His line for the week: 7 for 21, 5 HRs, 8 RBIs. It is safe to say that he was seeing the ball well.
Who’s Not- Pinch Hitters. T-Mac and the gang are always pointing out that the Phillies’ bench has great pinch hitting with the likes of Gload, Dobbs, and Francisco. How did our boys do coming off the bench this week? 0 for 9 with a sac fly.
Who’s Hot- Cole Hamels. He pitched well enough to get a win on Monday and pitched lights out Sunday only to get the loss. That’s baseball. After two weeks of play, Hamels is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Even more promising, he is using all of his pitches and his curve is starting to look just as good as his changeup. It would be a great one-two punch to get both Halladay and Hamels clicking together at the top of the lineup.
Who’s Not- Kyle Kendrick. Again. When he’s aggressive, he gets pelted. When he throws defensively, he gets himself into jams. There is already talk about sending him down once Blanton becomes available if not sooner. He’s not just doing one thing wrong, he is doing everything wrong and needs to figure out a way to re-tune his pitching fast or else he’s back with the Iron Pigs.
Honorable Mention: Juan Castro
So he is no Eric Bruntlett, but Castro seems to be the right fit at SS while Jimmy Rollins is on the DL. He doesn’t need to be great during JRoll’s absence, but you can tell that he is feeding off the adrenaline in the early going. He has some clutch hits and has been solid in the field thus far. If he can continue to stay error free and be above .200 for the next 2-3 weeks, my expectations for Juan Castro will have been sufficed.
Also, the guy will fit right in with the Philly fans. This past Sunday, “Behind the Pinstripes” did a special about Castro’s “game glove”. To be brief, Castro has used only one glove during his 10 year career. The guy is a head case about it; he keeps trying new gloves in practice and can’t find one he likes. The “game glove” is so worn, he had to stitch a piece of foam to the palm where it was starting to rip. Keep up the good work, Juan. Maybe someday you can rank among obscure fan favorites like Ricky Ledee and Todd Pratt.
Standings and MLB Ranks:
After two weeks of play in the NL East:
- Phillies 8-4
- Marlins 8-5
- Braves 7-5
- Nationals 6-6
- Mets 4-8
Phils had a great chance this week to separate themselves from the rest of their division. With the weak finish, they fail to capitalize on the opportunity and allow the Braves and Marlins to stay within a game. Still early on; a lot can change in the coming weeks.
- 2nd in NL in Batting Average; 3rd in the MLB
- 6th in NL in ERA; 13th in the MLB
- 2nd in NL in Fielding Pct.; 6th in the MLB
- 1st in MLB in RS (78); T-20th in RA (49)
The Phils hit the road again for a 9-game stint which starts off in Atlanta Tuesday Night. The Phillies’ hitters need to shake out of their recent slump before then, because they drew the Braves’ proverbial gauntlet: Hanson, Hudson, and Lowe. Also, Kyle Kendrick, and all of his recent success, will do the honors in kicking off this road trip. So when does Halladay pitch again?
Sarcasm aside, the Phils need to focus on winning at least 6 games from this road trip. And considering they will have to face the Giants last, the sooner the better. This is the first real test for the Phils this season. No more bottom teams to pick on; they will be going against some of the NL’s premier talent and early playoff favorites. We’ll have to wait and see how they stack up.