Welcome to PhilsWeek! – a fun* look back at the week that was and all the exciting happenings surrounding everyone’s favorite major league baseball team: The Philadelphia Phillies!
*Note: Amount of fun experienced may vary.
Super big Phillies issue of the week: On average, the Phillies offense isn’t that bad
At first, you could make excuses for the Phillies offensive struggles. They faced two very good young starters in Julio Teheran and Alex Wood, so it wasn’t that awful to only manage one run in two days.
Friday night in Colorado, the offense continued its vanishing act, but that was also a bit understandable as starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone made it very clear early on that he was not going to allow the Phillies to win the game. Sometimes, when a starting pitcher puts a team into an early hole, the focus tends to drift.
When the Phillies didn’t hit on Saturday? That’s when I really began to question what was happening. The game was played in notorious hitters’ haven Coors Field. The opposing pitcher was the unimposing Jordan Lyles. And while starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick wasn’t masterful, he certainly pitched well enough to give the team a chance to win. So another night of only one run and zero extra base hits was certainly troubling.
But after Sunday, the outlook doesn’t look quite so bad. Over the past four games, the Phillies have averaged 3.25 runs. While that number isn’t especially impressive, it isn’t embarrassingly low either. So I guess the Phillies offense was actually okay last week? (Note: This is a good example of why it is often wise to gain some context when looking at statistics.)
So now I’m not sure if the Phillies have a good offense that just went through an inevitable slump, or a bad offense that shows occasional signs of productivity? Or maybe it’s a decent offense that is prone to bouts of ineffectiveness? Or some combination of the above?
Pennant year song of the week
Winning the National League pennant isn’t something the Phillies do all that often; it’s only happened seven times in team history. Each week, I’ll take a song from one of those years that somehow ties into the events of the past week.
Untouched, The Veronicas 2009
For most of the week, untouched was a good way to describe home plate, at least as far as the Phillies’ offense was concerned.
Right player, wrong uniform
There are some players who played their entire careers with a single team, and it’s impossible to imagine them in a different uniform: Mike Schmidt with the Phillies, Cal Ripken with the Orioles, and Derek Jeter with the Yankees are prime examples. On the other hand, there are some players who you might associate with a certain team…but they also had a forgettable stint (or two) with another team. You might not remember their time with those other teams, but the internet never forgets!
Early in his career, Nomar Garciaparra was a star with the Red Sox. Sure, his tics in the batting box could be infuriating, but he could certainly deliver with the bat. He won a batting title, and looked poised to become the next great Red Sox slugger.
But after a midseason trade to the Cubs in 2004, things went downhill. As soon as they got rid of him, the Red Sox finally broke through and win the World Series. And Nomar’s offense quickly tailed off once he left Boston.
Nomar never was fully able to regain star status. He spent a few middling seasons with the Cubs and Dodgers, before finally ending up with the Oakland A’s for a season that I’m sure most would like stricken from the record books.
The week ahead
The Phillies head to Los Angeles for a four game series with the Dodgers. The big story of the series will be the return of Cole Hamels who is scheduled to start on Wednesday. With Hamels back, the Phillies have all of their projected players present, and have no excuses if they don’t play well.
In other words, if they don’t play well with Hamels on hand, there is no Calvary coming.
Inane rap lyric of the week
“First family will gradually lift that a*s up like gravity.” – Lil’ Fame, Half and Half
I get the feeling that Lil’ Fame didn’t do so well in physics class.
See you next week for another installment of PhilsWeek! Be sure to follow me (@MikeLacy_215) and That Ball’s Outta Here (@FS_TBOH) on the Twitter!