Monday, March 03, 2008
Pitching … Thus far the Phillies team ERA sits at a hefty 6.25. The team has tossed 36 innings and surrendered 25 earned runs (I’m not including the numbers from yesterday’s tie in the mix). They’ve surrendered 2.00 home runs per nine innings, 4.50 walks per nine innings and 6.50 strikeouts per nine innings and have a 1.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Two pitching performances have stood out as being outstanding:
Jamie Moyer, the ageless wonder, hurled three innings on the first day of spring training and surrendered just one hit, didn’t allow a run, a home run or a walk and struck-out three hitters. Not bad.
Travis Blackley, the Phillies Rule 5 Draftee fighting for a roster spot, tossed three shut-out innings as well, allowing just on hit, no walks or home runs, and struck-out two hitters. This performance thus far strongly suggests that Blackley is in the running to make the Phillies Opening Day roster and stay with the team in 2008.
Carlos Carrasco, the Phillies highly-touted rookie, tossed three innings and struck-out three, allowing just three hits and no runs against the Yankees. Nice job.
Performances that ought to worry Phillies fans … Temporary closer Tom Gordon has pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed two runs on two hits and a walk … In two innings of work, Adam Eaton surrendered five hits (one a home run) and two runs.
As yet there isn’t a whole lot of data to extract positive clues from, but the preliminary outcomes suggest that the Phillies pitching is going to have some weak points.
Over on the offensive side, many Phillies hitters are off to big starts. Carlos Ruiz is hitting .667 on four-of-six at the plate with two doubles and an RBI. Pedro Feliz is hitting .571 on four-of-seven hitting with two doubles and an RBI. Ryan Howard is four-for-ten with two doubles and a home run and three RBI, while Chase Utley is three-for-eight with three doubles and two RBI.
Some Phillies are struggling – Pat Burrell is one-for-six and Jimmy Rollins is one-for-seven – but these are traditionally slow-starting hitters. Wes Helms – zero-for-six – has lost his position as the third baseman and won’t mount much of an argument to reclaim it with this spring performance.
Quick Eagles discussion … The Birds have made some nice moves in free agency, inking Chris Clemons and Assante Samuel to deals to strengthen the defensive unit. Samuel is a real shut-down corner who will strengthen the Eagles pass-rush by locking down wideouts. I hope the Eagles resist the temptation to deal Lito Shepard and keep him and Sheldon Brown to play next to Samuel. Having three Pro Bowl quality cornerbacks can’t hurt in a division where you play Plaxico Burress and T.O., can it? Clemons is a little under-sized and may not be able to fight through the rigors on the NFL regular season as a starter, but the team seemed committed to a rotation-style strategy on the defensive line … I’ve been very impressed by the splash that the Cleveland Browns have made this off-season, keeping Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis, their quarterback and running back respectively, and acquiring game-breaking wideout Donte Stallworth, the former Eagle. The Eagles – Browns game this year is going to be a big, big battle.