Thursday, August 03, 2006
-Since I pronounced the Phillies “phinished” for the year, they’ve decided to become the hottest team in baseball, cutting their deficit in the wildcard race down from seven and a half games to three and a half. Meanwhile, they’ve leapfrogged from tenth to fifth. With a win tonight against the Cards and a little luck, they could move into third place and cut the gap to two and a half games. Since losing to the D-backs 6-5, the Phillies have gone 7-2.
-The change in the team’s demeanor last night was palpable: they didn’t tighten up and lose their focus when the heat was on. They seemed to buckle down and play even harder. This team was getting timely hits, making smart decisions on the base-paths, and got some breaks. Shane Victorino’s triple was a real back-breaker for the Cards. It is as if dealing Cory Lidle, Bobby Abreu, David Bell and Rheal Cormier took a load off the Phillies back and convinced them that they didn't need to worry or stress anymore.
-The more things change the more they stay the same: nice work grounding into that inning-ending double play, Aaron Rowand.
-The idea of re-signing David Dellucci and having him take over in right field is looking like a very attractive option. Dellucci played a nice game: 3-for-4, 4 RBIs, 2 runs scored. Dellucci isn’t the OBP machine that Abreu is, but he hits for a lot of power (.262 ISO* in Texas in 2005, compared to Bobby Abreu’s .188 ISO), and he’s a good glove (According to The Fielding Bible: “Dellucci plays without fear in the outfield; will go to any length, even physical harm, to make a catch.”). As long as the Phillies don’t lock him into any real long-term deal (he’ll be 33 in 2007), they might have found a viable replacement for Bobby.
* Isolated Power (ISO): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.
-This is Chase Utley’s team now. Forget about the 34-game hitting streak. That isn’t important. What is important is that Chase is easily the Phillies most valuable player. He’s the rare middle infielder who hits for power (.230 ISO), gets on base (.388 OBP), works the count at the plate (3.91 pitches per plate appearance, most on the team after Burrell and Abreu), and plays a tough defensive position well. This is his team and they will go as far as he will take them.
-The Phillies face a critical stretch coming up. Tonight they finish their series with the Cards and then they have to go to Queens to play the Mets, to Atlanta to play the Braves, and then home to play the Reds and Mets before they get a breather with the Nats. Things aren’t over yet, these next few days will make or break the Phillies season. As I said earlier, circle the Phillies-Mets series on August 14-17 at Citizens. That series will make-or-break the Phils season.
See everyone tomorrow.
Dellucci has been playing himself back into an everyday role somewhere, I'm just guessing he sees the writing on the wall that the organization feels that Victorino, Roberson, Bourn, et al deserve their shot. Oh yeah, and those guys come very cheap.
I posted this elsewhere, but they are just interested in picking our team apart - what do you think?
"I am an actual fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and I have been since I went to my first game in that monstrosity the Vet when I was six and I will never understand those of you, like the first commenter yesterday who root against our team. This team is capable of getting to the World Series. Now that the mastermind Pat Gillick has motivated them by actually telling them they are not good enough either this year or next to be worth anything (much like most of our commenters), they are destroying their likely first round playoff opponent which leaves us to see how they match up with the Mets in a potential NLCS. And I'm sorry, but even after the weekend purge, third base and starting pitcher are the only positions I would unquestionably take a Met over a Phil. All of the other position players and the bullpen are superior in the more beautiful stadium to the southeast. Go Phils - now is the time to shut up your loudest critics - the morons who root for the EAGLES during baseball games at The Bank!"