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April: Phils Move Through Tough Start

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, April 30, 2009 09:00 AM | Comments: 17
Analysis, Posts

KalasToday ends the first month of the 2009 baseball season. The Phillies stand at 11-9, not bad for a month that usually has notorious results. How they did it:

vs. Atlanta: 1-2
at Colorado: 2-1
at Washington: 1-1
vs. San Diego: 1-2
vs. Milwaukee: 1-2
at Florida: 3-0
vs. Washington: 2-1

Here are the top stories of April 2009:

Harry Kalas: 1936-2009
Philadelphia was shocked to learn April 13 that Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas had passed away after falling unconscious in the Nationals press box. Kalas was survived by his wife and three children, and of course, millions of Phillies fans across the world. Remembrances have lived on since, and he was memorialized April 18.

Phillies Honored
Celebration came before tragedy, as the Phillies opened the 2009 major league season, then received their world championship rings as part of the three-game opening series against the Braves. Despite the fanfare, the Phils opened 1-2.

Rauuuuuuul!
Skepticism surrounded the addition of Raul Ibanez, but the left fielder erased all early doubts with a stellar April. Currently Ibanez leads the National League in home runs (7) is among league leaders in runs batted in, slugging percentage and batting average. Add to that a knack for clutch, speed and fine defense, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Poor Pitching
Last season the Phillies got by on great pitching; this year the Phils can barely by a good outing. Starting pitching has been terrible for the most part, headlined by Joe Blanton and Chan Ho Park’s early struggles. The bullpen has had its moments — Brad Lidge blew his first save; Ryan Madson blew a game; Chad Durbin has struggled in spots. At least Clay Condrey has been untouchable.

Hip This
Chase Utley is healthy. Completely. His statistics (.342, 7 HR, 20 RBI) already put him near the front of MVP discussions.

Cold Cole
Cole Hamels hasn’t had a great season. It started with a shellacking by Colorado. Then he shaped up for a while against San Diego, before being handed his butt. Better was a start against Milwaukee, but Prince Fielder’s liner took him out early. He looked even better against Washington, but a John Lannan bunt made him turn his ankle. Hopefully he’ll be at his best starting in May. And hopefully the injuries will cease.

J-Foldin
If any offensive player should wear a dunce cap, it’s Jimmy Rollins. His numbers (.207, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS) are downright bad. He says he’ll hit .400 in May. Can he go three-for-three in bold predictions?

Everything else
Brett Myers is the home run king — at least when it comes to giving them up. … The minor leagues look great — Drabek, Carrasco, Stutes, Knapp and Flande are just a few of the pitchers who are having strong starts. … Shane Victorino is quietly remaining an offensive force. … Ryan Howard’s defense has been superb; can we say Gold Glove favorite? … Carlos Ruiz received a DL stint with ab problems. … Brad Lidge also started to hurt in April.

What’s Next
The Phillies have a tough May ahead. They start at home with the Mets, then travel to Saint Louis and Queens before returning home to play the Braves and Dodgers. A long road trip gives them some rest (Washington, Cincinnati) before opening Interleague play at the new Yankee Stadium. May ends with a homestand against, ironically, the two teams that ended April: the Marlins and Nationals. Early prediction: 17-12.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Jimmy Rollins DID NOT SAY that he will hit .400 for the month of May..

    That is taking his quote out of context, and creating problems at the same time..

    It was never meant to be a prediction, it was meant to signal that he thinks he’ll start getting some better at-bats..

    Can we please stop trying to create stories from every single quote from every single interview??

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Rollins went 6-for-14 this past series vs the Nationals.. a good sign

     
  • Posts: 0 Tim Malcolm

    “I felt pretty good, ready to rock and roll. I’m ready to hit .400 for the next month.”

    Okay, maybe a smidge out of context. But yeah, I’m keeping it the way I wrote it.

     
  • Posts: 0 mwiggs

    “At least Clay Condrey has been untouchable.” Wow, who thought those words would ever be put together – keep up the good work, Clay.

     
  • Posts: 0 RG

    How bout the several nice comebacks as a storyline?

     
  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Btw…accrording to ESPN Projections… Raauuulll Ibanez.. if he continues at this pace will hit 57 Hrs 130+ RBI’s w/ a .359 BA..

    Is that triple crown potential or what!…

     
  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    I agree RG….. especially that Braves win….the guy i sit next to at work is a big braves fan.. that game hurt his pride

     
  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    The Phils better have a good May because the schedule in June is tough.

    7 game west coast trip (at SD, at LA)
    3 games at Mets
    3 vs. Boston
    3 vs. Toronto
    3 vs. Baltimore
    3 at Tampa
    3 at Toronto
    3 at Atlanta

     
  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    and then they play 3 at Mets on July 4th weekend

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    With all the trials and tribulations that goes with injuries, distractions and struggles of pitchers, it’s somewhat comforting to see the team finished April with a winning record (11-9). That’s the second straight April success in a row (15-13 last year). It’s almost certain that starting pitching will get better as the season progress. A 5.63 ERA and 40 HRs allowed (both worst in the N.L.) will not continue that way. However, for that to happen, we need to see both Hamels and Lidge be healthy for the season. I’m more concern for Lidge at this moment. If Lidge feels discomfort (knee inflammation) tomorrow, it’s likely he will go on the DL. If that’s the case, problems of juggling pitchers (including possible call-ups from the minors) for the bullpen becomes a distraction in itself for the team. Let’s hope for the best.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jack

    1 game at a time… let’s not forget what got us a trophy in 2008. Forget tough series’ and tough months. Batters plan against pitchers and pitchers size up hitters based on the current day. Utley will no prepare for John Maine on Saturday when he is facing Johan Santana that Friday night. Just stay focused day to day, get rested, stay healthy, and stay consistent. If that happens, good things happen in September and October. Promise.

     
  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    The Phillies are going to miss Johan for this weekend’s series and next week’s series as well.

    I’m worried about Lidge as well, if he opts for the surgery, he’ll miss 6-8 weeks.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lewisauce

    I haven’t heard anything about Lidge possibly getting surgery. At worst, I think he is looking at a DL stint, which is entirely survivable with the BP depth and the young arms doing so well in the minors.

    Starters should be the biggest concern. Jimmy will come around. And the other big guys have obviously come ready to play, so no worries on the offense.

    Go Phightins!

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Watch Rollins shine against the Mets this weekend!!
    He WILL be ready.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Thats not predicting. He said Im ready to hit 400 this month. Thats why I dont come to this site…

     
  • Posts: 0 Jamie

    Um…Jeff you are on this site. What do you mean that’s why you don’t come here? Nobody’s forcing you…

     
  • Posts: 0 Bear

    Phillies are World Champions

     
 
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