Monday, May 16, 2011

Phillies Could Use a Few Adjustments

The Phillies sit at 25-14 through 15 days in May.  Their record is good for the best in baseball so it’s difficult to justify complaining about anything.  But I’m a Philly fan, so there will always be something to complain about. After dropping two out of three to Atlanta over the weekend some Phillies fan’s will claim the sky is falling, but it’s not and the Phil’s will be just fine.  The problem is they could be even better if they make a few adjustments.

  1. Why is Joe Blanton pitching over Vance Worley?  Blanton stated that his sore elbow was still sore after a bull pen session leading up to his start on Saturday.  He only went 5 innings and tossed 74 pitches before his start was over and yes his elbow was sore again following the game.  It made no sense to start him, the Phillies have more then capable alternatives and by sending him out there they risked further injury.  If they are looking to trade him, a pitcher with a sore elbow is like buying a non-alcoholic beer…what’s the point?  If Heavy B’s elbow continues to be a problem the Phillies best option is to sit him until it heals or move him if they find a team desperate enough. 

  1. Why does Roy Halladay have to go 8 + innings in every start?  So far this season Halladay has started 9 games and has completed 4 of them.  His 69.1 innings pitched is the most in baseball as is his number of pitches thrown of 1,030.  Charlie Manuel is so hesitant to pull Halladay that it has become a detriment to the team’s success.  In his last two starts Halladay has given up 8th inning runs that have cost the Phillies.  On Tuesday, May 10th Halladay gave up an 8th inning single that scored the go ahead run for Atlanta and the Braves won the game 2-1.  Yesterday, Halladay again gave up an 8th inning run, this time a homerun by Dan Uggla that gave the Braves a 3-2 lead and eventual win.  It might be time for Charlie to start thinking about pulling Halladay after 7 innings or so, at least some of the time. 

  1. Is it time to make a change in right field?  Ben Francisco came out of the gate relatively hot and his numbers looked pretty good at the end of April, he had hit 4 homeruns and added 18 RBI’s heading into May.  That all changed starting May 1st and Francisco has struggled all month.  So far through the first 15 days of May he’s hitting .103 going 3 out of his last 29 at bats with 2 runs scored, no homeruns and no RBI’s.  Francisco was a toss in for the Cliff Lee trade, he was never expected to be a starter and he’s better suited coming off the bench when needed.  Domonic Brown is the future in the Phillies outfield, but his injuries have kept him out of the equation so far this season, he currently has a sprained thumb and is listed as day to day.  That leaves John Mayberry, Jr. and Ross Gload.  Mayberry has made the best case for himself, in his start yesterday in Atlanta he had two walks and his two run homerun accounted for all of the Phillies offense.  For the season Mayberry is hitting .295 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI’s in limited action.  Why not give him a chance to start everyday?  It can’t be any worse then Francisco’s output. 

Chase Utley’s return will bolster the offense and more runs scored with great pitching will equal a lot of wins.  If the Phillies don’t adjust a little bit here and there though, their current success could easily come to an end.  There are very good teams in the NL East, Florida and Atlanta will be on the Phillies heels all season and if the Phil’s slip up at all they could find their way out of first place. 

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