Record: 57-34, 1st place NL East
Manager: Charlie Manuel, lifetime 821-652 (.557) managerial record. You know the drill: Hands off manager, trusts his guys, doesn’t call for many bunts or intentional walks.
Park: Mets are home, Citi Field.
Can they hit? Kinda
Can they pitch? Obviously
Can they field? Yeah, that too.
SS – Jimmy Rollins – S
3B – Michael Martinez – S
2B – Chase Utley – L
1B – Ryan Howard – L
LF – Raul Ibanez – L
C – Carlos Ruiz – R
RF – Domonic Brown – L
CF – John Mayberry Jr. – R
Not the offense it used to be, but the Phillies are still scoring 4.2 runs per game, better than the 4.1 runs per game league average — they’re basically the most average offensive team in the league. The National League is batting .251/.318/.386; the Phillies are batting .250/.323/.382. The average NL team has 77 home runs and 60 stolen bases; the Phillies have 78 home runs and 61 stolen bases. The average NL team has one soulless, puppy killing demon-man; the Phillies have 25 . . . all right, so they’re not totally average in everything. But close to it. Shane Victorino, their best player this season, hit the DL a week ago, and Placido Polanco joined him today. But aided by the returns of Chase Utley and Domonic Brown, they’ve started scoring in bunches this month, leading the league in OPS in July and placing second in runs scored.
7/15: RHP Vance Worley (4-1, 2.20 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (4-7, 3.61 ERA)
Somehow, this is the guy who leads the Phillies’ staff in ERA. Pitchers with a 3.80 minor league ERA don’t generally become better pitchers than Roy Halladay overnight, and I don’t think that’s what happened here. (Analysis!) Worley’s FIP sits at 3.01 and his xFIP sits at 4.04. He’s gotten a lot of help from his fielders, and he’s allowed just two home runs this season. He’s going to start pitching more like Vance Worley soon – which isn’t that bad, as a 4.00 ERA starting pitcher has plenty of value anyway.
7/16: LHP Cole Hamels (11-4, 2.32 ERA) vs. Jon Niese (8-7, 3.88 ERA)
Hamels is a rare pitcher with a reverse platoon split, a lefty with more success against righthanded hitters: For his career, lefthanded hitters have a .700 OPS against Hamels, righthanded hitters a .679 OPS. The reason is his changeup — Hamels’ out pitch has been his changeup, a non-breaking pitch equally effective against righties and lefties. He’s narrowed that split recently after adding a cutter — lefties hit for a .645 OPS against Hamels last season, and a .617 OPS this season. The 2.32 ERA is no fluke. He’s really this good.
7/17: RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.58 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (5-8, 4.55 ERA)
This is the game when all the runs will be scored.
The Mets miss Harry LeRoy Halladay and Clifton Phifer Lee.
C – Brian Schneider – L
IF – Pete Orr – L
IF – Wilson Valdez – R
OF – Ben Francisco – R
PH – Ross Gload – L
Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz are the only real righthanded threats on this team — without Placido Polanco, they’re an extremely lefthanded lineup. Actually, Placido Polanco isn’t good anyway. So even with him, they’re still extremely lefthanded.
RHP – Ryan Madson
LHP – Antonio Bastardo
RHP – Michael Stutes
RHP – David Herndon
RHP – Danys Baez
RHP – Drew Carpenter
LHP – Juan Perez
Injuries and a general lack of good pitchers has the Phillies’ pen slowly moving from best to worst. After hanging out near the top in bullpen ERA for the first few months, they’ve since fallen to sixth in the league with a 3.24 ERA, supported by a 3.89 FIP (12th in the league) and a 4.09 xFIP (tied for 14th in the league). Charlie Manuel has used his bullpen less than any other team, thanks to the stellar rotation. But outside of Madson and Bastardo, they’re just aren’t any good pitchers here. The Phillies are the best team in the NL, but they have work to do at the deadline building a bench and bullpen.
And those are some things to know about the Phillies.