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Phillies Phirst Half Winners

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Jul 11 2011 @ 1:49 pm In Philadelphia Phillies | No Comments

Ninety-one games into the season we have reached the All-Star Break and the Phillies could not be doing better. Philadelphia’s 57-34 record ties the 1993 Phillies for most wins by All-Star Break – not to mention being the best in baseball. Boston (55-37), New York Yankees (53-39) and the Atlanta Braves (54-38) all trail the Phillies and in all likelihood, those four teams will prove themselves as titans over the season’s second half. San Francisco (52-40), Texas (51-41) and a collection of eight teams with between 47-50 wins will sort themselves out among baseball’s six divisions and two wildcards. [1]

Argue the power rankings however you like placing Tampa, St. Louis or San Francisco in the Top 5. Most of these teams will look to add talent before the trading deadline and all have some marquee matchups both in their own divisions and against other rivals. Head-to-Head grudge matches like this past weekend’s Phillies-Braves series (series is tied @ 6-6) will be just as important as keeping pace over August and September. A fun, entertaining, enjoyable first half for the Phightin’ Phils!

[2] [3]Could we say that this is the most successful first half of this generation in Phillies history? The numbers tell us that much. Most wins at the break since 1993, surpassing the glory teams of the late 1970s, better than the 1980 and 2008 World Champions and better than 2007-2010’s midseason marks. Phillies have won four straight division titles, have been to two World Series and won one but they are focused on winning their second title in four years.

[4]Injuries and issues have riddled the Phillies clubhouse while questions abound as to contracts, trades, salary structure, on-field performance but collectively, as a true team, this Phillies squad has climbed the mountain. Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, Joe Blanton, Brian Schneider, Jose Contreras, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Domonic Brown have all missed significant time due to injury. Ross Gload, Ben [5]Francisco and David Herndon all made the club coming out of Spring Training but have been virtually invisible. Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino have proven themselves unsung heroes of the first half and look to continue supporting Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and the vaunted Four Aces down the stretch.

[6]How much of a team effort are we seeing and who are these guys? Ryan Howard (72 RBI ranks 3rd in MLB, 162 TB ranks 31st), Jimmy Rollins (34th overall and [7]95 hits in MLB) and Shane Victorino (53 runs ranks 32nd in MLB, .300 BA) are the highest-ranking hitters from the Phillies and good luck finding a second Phillie in the Top 50 on most of those rankings. The offense has had trouble scratching out runs (despite two 14+ run efforts over the past week) while the pitching and fielding have been incredible.

As a team the Phillies rank as follows:

PHI STAT MLB RANK
BA

0.250

20

R

384

14

H

776

17

TB

1188

20

HR

78

18

RBI

377

11

SB

61

16

WINS

57

1

ERA

3.02

1

K

706

4

IP

831.1

6

WHIP

1.16

1

CG

11

1

SHO

13

1

SV

25

11

OBA

0.295

1

 

[8]Second-guessers will always be proven right or wrong in time but you have to trust the person in the room making decisions. Be that Charlie Manuel or Ruben Amaro, the Phillies seem to be making the right calls. Jayson Werth is hitting .215 in Washington (325 AB, 40 runs, 70 hits, 31 RBI, 87 K, 11 SB, .362 SLG) at $27M… Adam Dunn was the other big name target acquisition (.160 BA in 269 AB, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 117 strikeouts)… J.C. Romero has headed for [9]Washington after being released… Michael Stutes and Antonio [10]Bastardo have stepped in to shore up the bullpen… Vance Worley, John Mayberry, Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez have all proven valuable additions to the roster as role players and will likely continue with the major league club.

 

[11]Phillies record vs. opponents looks good across the board. Of National League contenders, the only losing record would be against Milwaukee (1-2). Most surprising would be the Phillies records against upstarts like Arizona (1-2), Colorado (1-1) and Pittsburgh (1-2). Philadelphia is 9-3 against Florida and 9-6 vs. AL teams in interleague play, which [12]includes a World Series Preview vs. Boston in June. Least surprising but equally impressive would be the Phillies record vs. lesser teams – proving that they are [13]winning the series they are supposed to win. These include SD (4-0), Houston (3-0), NY Mets (6-3), Washington (6-3), Chicago Cubs (3-1) and Cincinnati (3-1). Phillies are 2-3 vs. St. Louis and they have yet to play the San Francisco Giants since the 2010 NLCS.  

[14]Over the remaining 71 games, the Phillies will look to maintain their separation between themselves and the rest of the National League. They will also want to be as healthy as possible – so expect guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins to take some games off (uncharacteristic of both these players and their manager Charlie Manuel). If Brad Lidge, Ryan Madsen and Roy Oswalt return in the second half that will be almost as welcome as a power-hitting right-handed RBI guy to hit behind Ryan Howard.

What will the second half reveal?

 

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