Well the series with the Nationals is over, and as I sit here resting up after a busy couple of days at the ballpark a few more thoughts popped into my head. Without further adieu…
•Am I the only one who is a little upset that we are only 4-2 against the Nationals this year? Granted if we win every series, it will be the most successful season in Phillies history, but against the Nationals I feel as if one of these two series should have ended in a sweep. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit concerned about the upcoming 12 games against Marlins, Braves, D-Backs and Giants. Anything less than 7-5 is a disappointment, but I think 8-4 is what the majority of the fans will be looking for. However, with the April struggles that have plagued this team over the years, a 7-2 record, no matter the opponents is nothing to scoff at.
•I know I said that I think Cole Hamels deserves some time before the boo birds swarm, however all starting pitchers not named Roy Halladay will need to improve if this team is going to keep up its current pace. Jamie Moyer is the only starter to finish the sixth inning in any game this season besides Halladay, and he wasn’t exactly stellar in his start.
JA Happ’s 8 BB in 10.1 IP have got to scare you. Last season, he was notorious for pitching out of jams, which led a lot of baseball experts to say the rookie was lucky. In two starts this season, he is still yet to give up an unearned run. I’m just not exactly sure that he can continue to pitch out of trouble unscathed. High pitch counts have limited both of his starts this year, causing Charlie Manuel to go to the pen earlier than he would like. It is no secret, the less the starters pitch, the more the bullpen will get hit. We all know the best bullpen is a well-rested bullpen, as evidenced by today’s loss. Before today, the bullpen had been excellent, so I don’t think we need to jump off a bridge after one bad performance. But some food for thought: all starters not named Roy Halladay have a combined ERA of 7.51 (inflated by Kendrick, but evened out with Happ’s 0.00) and a combined WHIP of 1.87.
•It is hard to judge the team after only nine games; however the offense is off to a start that has videogame like projections in mind, look at these full season projections:
-Placido Polanco: .475 234 R 18 HR 198 RBI 18K
-Ryan Howard: .385 126 R 54 HR 234 RBI .734 SLG
-Chase Utley .343 216 R 90 HR 198 RBI 162 BB 1.421 OPS
-Carlos Ruiz .273 137 R 183 BB .467 OPS out of the 8 hole!
-Jimmy Rollins .391 184 R 161 BB 46 SB .516 OBP this was of course before the calf injury.
Of course these are ridiculous projections, but no reason not to have a little fun. One can dream right?
•The one part of the offense that is not clicking is, in my opinion, the most overrated Phillie on the team. Raul Ibanez was free from the boos last year after living off of a scorching hot April and May. After his injury last season, Ibanez never seemed to recover. His spring was one to be forgotten, and aside from last Friday’s game against Houston, Ibanez has almost no-showed the other eight games so far. With all the runs being scored by this team, it seems hard to believe that Ibanez has only driven in runs in three games this season. Nine games is only nine games, so it’s still way too early to go off the deep end, but if you carry over June-September of last year, spring training this year, and the first week and a half of the 2010 it can definitely set off an alarm of worry.
If you exclude his game against Houston last Friday, Ibanez is 4-27 with one extra-base hit to go along with 2 RBIs. Right now, his teammates are picking up the slack by putting up absurd numbers; hopefully he takes this time to figure out what is wrong. If not, it won’t be long until the fans turn on him as quickly as they did on Pat Burrell and we hear the name Domenic Brown a lot more.
Hope everyone enjoys this year’s first weekend at The Bank, aside from a few scattered storms tomorrow night for the home debut of Roy Halladay the weather doesn’t look too bad, just a bit chilly. See you in left field.