Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Monday, April 17, 2006

The Season So Far ... 

It is way too early to start jumping to conclusions about the direction the Phillies 2006 campaign is taking, but there are some inferences we can draw. Here are my thoughts on the season thus far...

Games done / to go: 12 / 150
Record: 5-7
Place: Third

Where the Phillies were after 12 games in 2005: defeating the Braves 2-1 in ten innings, to run their record to 6-6, which put the Phillies in a four-way tie for second with the Mets, Marlins, and Braves, two games behind the Washington Nationals (8-4).

Where the Phillies were after 12 games in 2004: losing to the Marlins 3-1, which dropped them to 5-7 and firmly in fourth place, 3 & 1/2 games behind the Fishstripes (the Phils would lose the other two games in the series as well).

Where the Phillies were after 12 games in 2003: defeating the Reds 13-1, to run their record to 7-5, good for second place in the NL East, one game behind the Expos and 2 & 1/2 ahead of the 5-8 Braves.

In other words, nothing much has changed. Here are some of the stories emerging:

J.Roll's hitting streak came to a rest at 38-games. And he hasn't really stopped since then: in the nine games since the streak came to an end, J.Roll has hit in eight games and is hitting .375 during that time-frame. I'm going to level my usual criticism at J.Roll (three walks? you don't walk enough...), but he's been producing.

Aaron Rowand is every bit the blue-collar gamer that the Phillies thought they were getting when they dealt Thome to the White Sox. Rowand's throw to gun down Brian McCann in the Phillies 7-5 win over the Braves on Wednesday was a great play (yeah, it was helped by McCann's elephant-like plodding to home, but still). I will concede however that Rowand probably isn't living up to his reputation as a great glove thus far: as I write this he is last (yes, dead-last) in the NL in ZR amongst Centerfielders.

1-0: I almost did a double-take when I saw the score on Sportscenter last night. I didn't know 1-0 games were possible at Coors Field. Give Brett Myers enormus credit. That was a gem of a game he pitched (7 & 2/3 innings with seven hits and a walk allowed). First time a visiting team won 1-0 at Coors.

Pitching struggles. Ryan Madson, Gavin Floyd, welcome to the rotation. Madson has pitched well as a full-fledged starter: anyone surrendering just three earned runs at Coors in seven innings isn't doing badly at all. Floyd has struggled, but looks good. The relief corps, and particularly Ryan Franklin, looks pitiful. Franklin nearly let Floyd's victory over the Braves slip away.

Usual slow start. The Phillies posted a 36-37 record in March/April games from 2003-2005 (.493 winning percentage). Their May winning percentage is .548 (45-37) and their June percentage is .557 (44-35). So their 5-7 start is no biggie. This team just needs to wake up on May Day and kick things into second gear.

Tomorrow: Know Thy Enemy, the Nats.

What does Carlos Ruiz have to do to get a major league shot? Any insights? Sal Fasano is hitting .071.
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