The Phils are now 6-1 on their parade around the bottom of the NL and look to add to that as they travel to PNC Park to face the 20-games under .500 Pirates. The Phils are now 7 up on the Braves (who have San Diego) and 8 up on the Marlins (who get the Mets), and sit only 1/2 game behind the Dodgers for the best record in the NL. Our magic number is 33, and I will track that for the rest of the season as best I can. Just in case you don’t know, Magic Number = Phillies’ wins + Braves losses (or whoever is in 2nd) until the Phillies clinch the division. We are currently 7 games over
Player of the Series: Brad Lidge (3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 Saves)
Goat of the Series: Cole Hamels (5 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, L)
Let’s take a look at where the Phils players currently rank in the NL…with 16 teams in the NL, I’ll list anything that is top-15
- Utley (T-2nd in Runs, T-10th in HR, 11th in RBI, 8th in Walks, 2nd in OBP, 13th in SLG%, 6th in OPS, 13th in Total Bases)
- Victorino (5th in Runs, T-4th in Hits, T-8th in Doubles, 2nd in Triples, T-11th in SB, 8th in BA, 15th in OBP)
- Howard (T-6th in Runs, 3rd in HR, 3rd in RBI, 2nd in SO, 8th in SLG%, 5th in Total Bases)
- Werth (T-6th in Runs, 7th in HR, T-13th in RBI, 9th in Walks, 5th in SO, 15th in Total Bases)
- Rollins (13th in Runs, T-5th in Doubles, T-6th in SB)
- Ibanez (T-8th in HR, T-13th in RBI, 5th in SLG%, 11th in OPS)
- Happ (4th in ERA)
Slight discrepancy between the hitters and the pitchers, huh.
Series Preview: Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates
Over the last several years the Pirates have traded an entire starting 8…
C- Jason Kendall
1B- Adam LaRoche
2B- Freddy Sanchez
SS – Jack Wilson
3B – Aramis Ramirez
OF – Jason Bay
OF- Nate McClouth
OF – Nyjer Morgan
You would think they would have gotten a pretty good return on all that talent, but they really haven’t. The Pirates have been the worst run organization in baseball for some time and must have one of the worst scouting systems and draft strategies as they have been high up in the draft for the last decade with little to show for it.
Right now they have a couple players worth watching (Andrew McCutchen, Zach Duke) but their #1 RBI guy has only 12 more RBI than Carlos Ruiz, and they are a long way away from a winning season.
Tuesday: Blanton vs. LHP Ross Ohlendorf (11-8, 4.15 ERA)
Wednesday: Hamels vs. LHP Paul Maholm (7-7, 4.74 ERA)
Thursday: Happ vs. RHP Charlie Morton (3-6, 5.21 ERA)
Three Questions for the Series…
- Can the Phils avoid looking ahead to the weekend series with the Braves?
- Should we throw the towel in on Hamels for the rest of the year?
- Will the Phillies / Pirates ever be a good intrastate rivalry?
It would be easy to predict a sweep the way the Phillies are playing, but I think that Ohlendorf or Maholm stymie us and we take 2 of 3. Hopefully Hamels can get some of his confidence back against a poor Pittsburgh line-up. Shockingly, I’m pretty comfortable with a Lee, Blanton, Happ rotation for the playoffs, but the difference between winning one series and winning the pennant or the whole thing probably rests with Hamels left arm.