ESPN has the Phillies near the top in 'Power Rankings'
The big story in the offseason and the start of the season has been pitching. We were all in awe of the potential of the starting 5 for the Phillies and couldn’t wait to see them in action.
So far we haven’t been too disappointed.
The pitching staff has been somewhat solid, but the real story so far this season is the Phillies offense. We are now a full two weeks into the 2011 season and the Phillies are 1st in batting average, and on base percentage so far in this early season.
The Phil’s offense is also 3rd in total runs on the season as they added 3 more to the total in the 3-2 win last night in Washington DC. Placido Polonco is batting .370 and Shane Victorino is at .364. When batters turn into runners on base, that’s usually a good sign for a team, and the Phillies have been scoring runners.
Ryan Howard has 13 RBI so far in the season, he could have a lot more as he’s come up with the bases loaded a few times already in the season and walked away without anything to add to his total. Howard currently holds the record though for any Phillie in the Grand Slams category. Howard has 9 total Grand Slams in his career so far.
In the pitching department, I don’t think we’ve seen the best parts of what it has to offer yet. The Phils pitching so far as compared to the other teams hasn’t been what you would call spectacular. The season is early yet though, and towards the end of April and early May when the weather starts warming up, I think we’ll start to see a big improvement.
The Nationals tried to sneak a couple runs past the Phillies last night, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th, but they were shut down before what could have been a disaster. Roy Halladay pitched a game that he shouldn’t have had to hold on for dear life to. Charlie Manuel didn’t want to take him out, but if Halladay had been beat because of this, then Manuel would have faced criticism as he would have taken anyone out if it wasn’t Roy Halladay on the mound. Cito Gaston used to do this too when Roy was on the Toronto Blue Jays, and I am not too sure that it’s in the best interest of the team to let a guy stay in when he’s in trouble even if it is Roy Halladay.
It’s the final game of the series tonight with Washington. The Nationals have proved to be somewhat resilient so far. They have added some offensive might in the offseason and look quite revamped so far. They probably won’t contend for first place, but they can play the Phillies really tough and try to upset their course to better things as the 2011 season unfolds.
It’s Cliff Lee tonight for the Phils, I think he cruises in this one, and has an easy victory. Lee is looking to recover from the rough outing he had on his last start and I suspect he will take it out on the Nationals and bring his nasty stuff tonight in DC.