It’s hard to believe that just eight months ago, the Phillies were World Champions. Right now they are far from repeating as champions. Father’s Day ’08, their record was 42-34 with a 22-17 home record and 20-17 road record. They are now 36-31, with a terrible home record of 13-22 but a better road record than last year with 23-9, which is the league’s best road record so far.
The only thing the Phillies have going for them is the all-star votes. As of June 15 Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley (most votes in the NL) are all in first place in the votes. Ryan Howard is in second behind Albert Pujols, Pedro Feliz is in fourth trailing Chipper Jones by 90 thousand votes, and Carlos Ruiz is also in fourth. Shane Victorino is in fifth among outfielders and Jayson Werth rounds out the line-up in eighth overall for outfielders.
This year the Phillies can’t get their pitching staff to do anything but give up run after run and blow 50 percent of the save opportunities they have. Brad Lidge, last season went a perfect 48 for 48 save opportunities (including playoffs). He was put on the DL for “an injury” after blowing six saves and has an ERA of 7.27. Hamels this year is 4-3 with an ERA of 4.24 compared to last year’s stats of 7-4 with 3.23 ERA.
Ryan Madsen came in as the closer June 10 and since then has blown two saves and let up five earned runs with twice as many hits let up. However, Madsen is even half of their pitching problems.
A team who the past three years had the best bullpen in baseball has really shown their true colors. They have a combined ERA of 4.99 with a record of 11-21 most of those losses coming at home.
Their most recent home stand of nine games came and went terribly. Against the Red Sox, the first game went into 13 innings and ended with three earned runs by Kyle Kendrick. Game two ended with a loss of 11-6 with rookie pitcher Antonio Bastardo only pitching one inning letting up five runs. They took game three. Next Toronto came into town and swept the Phillies the first game ending in the tenth inning with a loss by Clay Condrey, game two with six earned runs by Moyer and game three with a ninth inning loss from ex-Phillies catcher Rod Barajas’ homerun to centerfield.
Baltimore Orioles were up next and are now leaving with a sweep of the Phillies under their belt. All three wins came after the seventh inning when Philadelphia had the lead in the game. Out of their last nine games, they won one and lost eight.
Everything seems to be working against the Phillies as well. Raul Ibanez, playing what could be his best season ever at 37-years old was put on the disabled list June 18 for fifteen days. Ryan Howard was released from the hospital with a 104 fever and the flu, which ended his current game streak of 348 games of playing the longest streak among active players and finally Brett Myers who suffered a Tommy John injury and was put on the DL May 30 with no hope of returning for the rest of the season. Nothing is looking good for the Phillies at all this year, on the field or off the field. From losing Harry Kalas to a fatal heart attack to losing 63 percent of their home games.
Hopefully the Phillies will turn their season around and keep hold of their division lead and try to defend their championship title, but the way they are looking now, I don’t see them making it past round one of the playoffs, but they need to prove me wrong.