Monday, April 11, 2005
-Pat is back. I’ll expand upon this a little tomorrow, but Pat Burrell is having a heck of a season just six games in. He’s leading the NL with 15 RBIs with three home runs and three doubles. Ok, it is premature to say this, but the Phillies have themselves a viable MVP candidate (gulp!) here. Fears that Burrell wouldn’t recover from ’03 and ’04 look to be unfounded. Not only is he hitting, but he’s hitting for power. It took him eight games to get a home run in 2004. He’s got three already, and two were in St. Louis.
-The Phillies starters are 3-0 and pitching very well. Aside from surrendering four home runs, Jon Lieber is pitching decently well in his two starts. But the story so far has been Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd pitching great games. Floyd’s in particular was a gem: a 22-year old kid gave up just three hits and a run to the most fearsome lineup in the NL. Can’t argue with that. He’s going to have a bright future and give the Phillies some flexibility when Vicente Padilla comes back from the DL.
I’d bet Randy Wolf will be dealt to clear room for Floyd.
-The bullpen has bombed, but the losses to the Nationals were mostly Worrell’s fault. Let's hold off before we panic about this.
-The Phillies lineup is hitting well. While I think that the Utley / Polanco switching is hurting Chase, the team itself is playing well. Even Bobby Abreu, a slow starter, is hitting well: his 3-for-6 against the Cards Sunday was impressive. (And it raised his BA from .227 to .320 …)
As a team the Phillies have rolled up forty-three runs in just six games. I’d note that 50% of their performance has been against a tough pitching staff (the Cardinals).
-It is too soon to pass judgment on the Phillies defense, but they are playing well … correction: everyone except Kenny Lofton is playing well. Lofton is proving to be a disappointment defensively. As I said in my Season Preview, a new solution is needed in centerfield.
So what has the week taught us? The starting rotation has been bolstered and is pitching well. The lineup is smacking in runs by the bushel (and they haven’t even gotton to play in Coors Field yet!) and Pat Burrell 2005 looks more like Pat Burrell circa 2002 than circa 2003 or circa 2004. Aside from the ‘pen, this team is lookin’ strong.
At the moment the Phillies are 3-3 and just a game back of the Atlanta Braves, part of a three-team logjam for second place. This season is underway and it looks like those who predicted a wide-open race for the NL East were correct … Pity Mets fans, somewhat discouraged by their team’s 0-5 start. Their investments haven’t helped a poor bullpen much.
Coming up: tonight the Phillies kick off a big series against the Marlins in Miami. It's an important (but not critical) series because the Fish have had the Phillies number over the last two years and they are our biggest rival for the division. I really want to see them take two of three and separate from the pack a little. The weekend sees the Phillies square off with the Braves at Citizens. Probably our first chance to see Tim Hudson in the flesh.
On an unrelated matter: I typically don’t talk about my personal life but I want to make an exception because it is a big deal to me. My wife recently passed the PA bar exam (I'm very proud) and we’ve been doing some house-hunting. Saturday we bought a terrific home in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We are very excited.
I have a board game site/blog. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.
Come and check it out if you get time :-)