-Jimmy Rollins will finally return to the Phillies lineup tonight in Houston, and it couldn’t come at a better time. The injuries continue for this aging club; Wilson Valdez is day to day with a hamstring injury. I don’t think Rollins is an everyday player from here to the end of the season – more like an every other day player if the Phillies can afford it. And with a healthy lead in the NL standings (10.5 over the Brewers, 11 over the Diamondbacks, 12 over the Braves, and out of nowhere, the Cardinals are 16 back).
Temper your expectations as to what you’ll see from J-Roll upon his official return as a starter. All anyone wants to see is a healthy shortstop with that same rocket arm and whatever comes offensively would be a bonus at this point.
-So much for the San Francisco Giants. Bruce Bochy went out on a limb this weekend and said that his Giants are “awful” right now. And he’d be so right. The team whom everyone believed would give the Phillies fits if they saw each other again in the playoffs are on the doorstep of elimination, now 8.5 games behind Arizona in the NL West.
They scored 8 runs Sunday for the first time since August 3. They are dead last in baseball in runs scored, something not even the best pitching staff can overcome. To put that in perspective, the Phillies, for all of the grief they had gotten all year for being average offensively, have scored 653 runs to San Fran’s 492. How the mighty have fallen.
-Speaking of runs, the Phillies, as we all know, have not given up many this season. Pundits believed the Braves to have an equally compelling pitching staff before the season began, but that’s why you play the game. Here we stand, on September 12, and the Phillies have given up 79 fewer runs than the Braves. To be fair, the Giants have only allowed 47 more than the Phils, but, they play in At&t Park and their run differential is -19 as a team.
To also put the number 464 in perspective (the number of runs the Phillies have given up this year) they would have to really implode over the final 19 games this season to come anywhere close to last year’s total of 640. The Phillies gave up 640 runs last season as a unit, good for the fifth best total in MLB. Last season, the San Diego Padres allowed 581 runs, the fewest in baseball. At 3.24 runs per game, which is what the Phils allow on average this year, over the final 19 games, they will fall short of 581 by about about 55 (or 526 runs for the season). Pretty ridiculous.
When this playoff run began for the Phillies in 2007, the team gave up 821 runs that year. Amazing. The game certainly has changed.