The Phillies have had 2 blowouts in the past 2 days against the Mets, winnig 13-0 and 11-4. They’ve now catapulted to 2nd in the NL in runs, and 6th in the majors. This is similar to the pattern they’ve set out the past several seasons. In fact, they’re the best offense since the all-star break. The offense is simply good because of power and patience. Let’s break down what several of the key cogs have been doing so well:
Jimmy Rollins (since the break)
- 341 avg/400 OBP/ 619 SLG = 1.019 OPS
- 6 doubles, 1 triple, 9 homers, 8-8 SB
Rollins has simply been on-fire. He’s been good in all facets of his game, and has elevated his season line tremendously. After being in such a slump for much of the year, the guy is doing his usual 2nd half strut, except now he’s adding a bunch of home runs to his repoirte.
Ryan Howard (since the break)
- 353 avg/ 493 OBP/741 SLG = 1.235 OPS
- 6 doubles, 13 homers, 31 walks
He has been the best player on the team since the break. His offense has jumped into a new stratosphere after winning the Home Run Derby, by combining power, patience and bat control to be perhaps the best hitter in the National League, even better than Pujols over the past month. Teams have started to rapidly pitch around and even intentionally walk Howard. The good thing is that he’s not forcing the issue and being overly aggressive by reaching. He’s simply allowing them to come to him and then making them pay.
David Dellucci (since the break)
- 365 avg/ 467 OBP/ 716 SLG = 1.183 OPS
- 4 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers, 14 walks
Since his early struggles he’s really been as advertised. He’s taken a ton of pitches, worked counts, and hit home runs. Like the rest of hte team, extra base hits have simply been raining down. Dellucci looks good, but it looks like he may not want to come back here. If this ends up being true, it’s simply another miscalculation by Pat Gillick.
The catching crew
Chris Coste (since the break):
- 364 avg/417 OBP/ 655 SLG = 1.071 OPS
- 4 doubles, 4 homers, 2 walks
Mike Lieberthal (August)
- 310 avg/412 OBP/483 SLG = 895 OPS
- 2 doubles, 1 homer, 5 walks
In splitting time with Coste, Lieberthal has been rejuvenated. It toook 4 months but the Phillies finally found second half of good battery. Now all they need is their pitching to shape up. Coste has been a great story, but an even better player. I doubt he’ll end with a 340 average for the season, but he’ll still be a positive for the team.
Let’s not forget what Utley did in July, being named NL Player of the Month. He’s struggled somewhat in August, but the rest of the team has picked him up. Nunez has ‘improved’ to only be the worst 3B in the league, not the worst hitter in the league. Rowand is Rowand, hacking away and playing overrated defense. Victorino has shown himself to fight through a bad slump and come out better for it, taking pitches, getting on base and even showing some power. It’s time to give him the starting job in CF. Pat Burrell, who has seen a lot of vitrol heaped on him this year, has been pretty good for my money, sporting a 904 OPS since the break.
Now, let’s not somehow say that Abreu leaving created some great offense. There were huge signs BEFORE he and Bell left the team, as the team scored a lot of runs in July. And several of their players are 2nd half players (such as Rollins). It was to be expected that the offense would improve. Plus, Abreu’s hitting 375 for the Yankees. And they did it by being more patient and by connecting for more extra base hits. But really, isn’t that how most offenses work?