After the Cliff Lee 8th inning implosion, the Phillies currently stand at 53-32 so I guess it’s a little past halfway, but regardless here’s the report card for the best team in baseball.
Jimmy Rollins: B+
– The 2007 version of Jimmy Rollins may be dead, but the 2011 version is okay in my book. He’s on pace for a little under a hundred runs and around 30 steals, which is great for any lead off hitter. J-Roll already has committed five errors, but his defensive range is still among the best in the league.
Placido Polanco: B+
– Polly made the All Star team, but it isn’t difficult at third base when your only competition is the 250-year-old Chipper Jones. Polanco was on fire early in the year hitting in the mid-300’s for about a month, then the baseball Gods stepped in and quickly lowered that average. He has also struggled lately hitting with runners in scoring position, but his defense is spectacular and as always he’s still a tremendous stunt double for Mr. Peanut.
Chase Utley: B-
– Chase’s injury to start the season really hurt the Phillies. Offensively, defensively, from a leadership standpoint, everything wasn’t right with Chase on the mend. Since he’s been back he’s been the normal amazing Utley that we’ve known. He has adopted a, “pop out to left field…slam bat down..put head down…sprint to first” swing, which is something that’s very un-Chase like, but like everyone else I still have a man crush on him.
Ryan Howard: B
– Ryan has been himself. On pace for around 35 home runs and 125+ RBI’s. He’s also on pace for a whole lot of strikeouts. His hitting has been solid, but there have been way to many at-bats when he is swinging trying to hit it off the bell out in center field instead of just trying to get on base. Sometimes he does hit a ball five million feet, but there’s also a bunch of at-bats where he is swinging at pitches that are in the dirt. But the big piece is having a solid year is 3rd in the MLB in RBI’s and above all there will always be this picture which makes me smile.
Shane Victorino: A+
– I always have been on Shane’s case as a hitter. He swings at terrible pitches, isn’t a good situational hitter, blah, blah, blah. But all of that has changed this season. He’s been the team’s MVP for the first half hitting near .300 and playing gold glove defensive in center field. He also has a chance to have 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 steals, which is something that would be really impressive. He’s one of the final vote candidates for the All-Star game and he definitely should be the winner. The Phillies may need to bring this guy back in order to get some votes.
Raul Ibanez: F
– No explanation necessary.
Ben Fransico: C-
– Remember when I said he’d put up better numbers than Werth and that we’d completely forget about J-Dub? Yeah well I was kinda right. Ben: 69 Games – .230 AVG – 6 HR – 31 RBI. J-Dub: 80 Games – .223 AVG – 10 HR – 28 RBI. $126 million, Nats baseball! However, Francisco hasn’t been good at all. He started off well but has fallen pretty hard and the emergence of Domonic has seriously cut into his P.T. However, if the corpse of Raul continues to struggle it’s possible Benny Fresh gets another chance.
Domonic Brown: B-
– The Phillies are really babying him along, but goddamn he has a sexy swing. The numbers may not be pretty to the eye, but Brown has some swagger and has hit a couple of tape measure home runs this season. He plays a solid right field and has a cannon of an arm. It’ll be interesting to see when Chuck finally lets the leash off of Dom, even though it may not be until next season. But i’ll be patient because he’s going to be dropping bombs in a Phillies uniform for a long time.
Carlos Ruiz: B+
– Offensively? Eh. Defensively? Damnnnnn Boy. Chooch has played a large role in the Phillies’ pitchers success this season. Offensively he’s struggled hitting just three home runs with average below .250. However he’s in this lineup to help the pitchers, and added offense is a bonus. And yes, he still loves ice cream.
The Bench: D
– Nothing pretty here. Ross Gload doesn’t have a home run. Brian Schneider is just horrific. Michael Martinez is more horrific. However, there is Wilson Valdez so if the Phillies really need someone to ground into a double play they are in luck.
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels: A+
– You can’t ask for more than these three have given the Phillies so far this season. They have combined for around thirty wins, none have an ERA over three and they have been arguably the three best pitchers in all of baseball. Cole and Cliff both got off to shaky starts this season but have turned things around and are getting better as the season goes on. It will be fun to see what kind of numbers these three put up in the second half.
Remember when there was 4 aces???
Roy Oswalt, Joe Blanton: F
– Yikes. Oswalt talked about retiring after this season, but it feels as if he retired after his first few starts. He looked/acted as if he didn’t want to be around at many points this season before injuring his back. Now it’s up in the air when/if he will pitch again this season. Fat Joe sucked in six starts then his elbow or back or fifth roll of fat got injured. We haven’t seen or heard much from Joe since so who the hell knows what’s going on there.
The Youth: Ryan Madson, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo, Vance Worley: A
– These guys have really stepped up. Most of them made it into their positions this season due to injuries, but they all have performed well. Bastardo and Stutes both look to be fixtures in the Phils bullpen for a long time to come. Madson is going to command a large contract by finally proving he can be a shut down closer and Vanimal will be a serviceable starting pitcher. The big question is how will these guys hold up in the second half as their inning totals increase.
The Old/Terrible: J.C. Romero, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, David Herndon: D-
– Let’s see. One got released, two have been injured all year, and three have been terrible. You can put the names to the explanation on your own.
Yes, We all miss the JC crotch grab
Second Half: A+
– Shane Victorino almost just broke his ankle and I almost had a heart attack. But he’s up and moving and my heart rate is going back to normal. Anyway the second half for this team is going to be special. They’ve overcome injuries to their some of their most important players and managed to be the first team to 40 and 50 wins this MLB season. The team is getting healthier and the offense is finally coming to life…..This season is going to end in one of two ways. Either winning the World Series or being known as the most heart breaking season in Phillies history.