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Phillies Week 2 in Review

After a rough first week in 2013, the Phillies improved in week two and find themselves back at .500. They won each series they played this week, both against divisional opponents. After dropping Monday’s contest against the Mets, they would win games two and three behind some great pitching and a more potent offense.

Week one saw aces Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay struggle to get outs and get deep into games. Both rebounded this weekend with quality starts that gave their team a chance to win. Halladay was able to win his start today, while the Phils lost on Saturday when Hamels started. Kyle Kendrick allowed five runs in the team’s home opener two Fridays ago, giving back the four to nothing lead his offense gave him. He would show up for his second start last Wednesday against the Mets, allowing only two earned runs in six innings of work. He lowered his earned run average to 5.40 and his record is 1-1.

The most consistent starting pitchers so far have been Cliff Lee and newcomer John Lannan. Lee has been superb in his first two starts, allowing 2 earned runs, while striking out 14 in 16.2 innings of work. He has a 1.08 ERA and has not walked a batter yet this year. John Lannan’s career numbers going into 2013 were not outstanding. He was 42-52 with an ERA just north of four in six seasons with the Washington Nationals. The Phillies in particular often gave Lannan fits.

In 19 starts against the Phillies, Lannan was 3-13 with an ERA of 5.53. He was also often chided by Phillies fans for hitting Chase Utley on the hand in 2007, sidelining him for several months. In 2013 Lannan has been all you could Charlie Manuel could hope for and more. He does not have a win or loss to his credit, but has allowed just four runs in 13 innings pitched, good for a 2.77 ERA. Not bad for a fifth starter the Phillies got on the cheap this offseason. With the departure of Joe Blanton at last year’s trade deadline, and Vance Worley this offseason, it appeared as though the back end of the rotation might come up short. Not the case thus far, as Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan have both done a workmanlike job for the club.

Offensively, the team seemed to break away from the inconsistent hitting that brought them to a 2-6 start. They scored 17 runs on 25 hits in the three games against the Mets last week. They were able to score runs in bunches and even hit some long balls to break away from the opposition. Yet, this weekend against the Marlins they managed just six runs on 27 hits. Ironically with two more hits against Miami. The biggest problem this weekend was that they left 26 men on base. They able to manufacture hits against the Marlins, a team many have picked to finish last this season. However, they were not able to score big and put games away. While they did manage to win the series, it would be foolish to think they can succeed everyday with that many runners left on base.

One player who hasn’t quite lived up to expectation just yet is centerfielder Ben Revere. He won the leadoff role this spring with a .326 average and 34 total bases in 89 at-bats. He hit .294 in Minnesota last season and stole 40 bases. His speed in the outfield has been an asset, covering lots of ground in center. However, he hasn’t been on base enough yet in 2013 and has been a non-factor in the scoring output. He has stolen four bases, but he has been on base only 16 times in 50 at-bats. That needs to change in a hurry. With free agent Delmon Young on the road to recovery from micro fracture surgery, and Carlos Ruiz getting closer to returning from suspension, Revere could find himself at the bottom of the order if he doesn’t pick it up.

Another improvement the team saw this week was the play of their bullpen. The first week saw the bullpen let close games get out of hand. Many inherited runners were allowed to score. This week that evened out, as Phillie relievers allowed just two earned runs in 15.2 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts. Phillippe Aumont did get the loss on Saturday night, but he pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Friday night. Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo each threw multiple innings this week and did not allow a run. Papelbon saved both wins against the Marlins this weekend. As pitchers like Lannan and Kendrick have done, the bullpen still needs to improve on keeping the score where it is and not let additional runs cross the plate.

NFL coaching legend Bill Parcells once said, “You’re as good as your record says you are.” Well, the Phillies sit at 6-6 after two weeks of baseball. Not bad, but not great either. They have played like a sub .500 team at times, and then they’ve hit like the team that won five consecutive division titles.

Right now, they’re a .500 ball club, right in the middle of the pack.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com & Phillies.com

Photo courtesy of articles.mcall.com