Mother's day 2011 has come and gone and my wife and I learned the hard way that a 6 month old in a car seat after his bed time can cry for an hour and a half. Lesson learned, and just to make sure we found some humor in the end, our son officially fell asleep five minutes from the house...I know, very funny. Mother's day made me think back to my childhood and all of the sports I played growing up. Yes looking at my roundish figure now you would not think I was a skinny athletic kid, but I was. My mom was at every sporting event rooting me on, even showing her support when I had a bad game. I am sure that with all of those years her greatest concern was injury, any parent never wants to see their kid or any kid injured. The fact is that injuries are just a part of sports and are going to happen no matter what. It seems as though the Phillies are absolute proof of this and I am sure their mothers are still concerned.
So far this season the Phillies have placed six players on the DL. Those players equal two position players, two starting pitchers and two bull pen pitchers. The Phillies medical staff has been working over time and earning their paychecks. Chase Utley and Brad Lidge were injured in spring training and have been on the DL ever since. Joe Blanton was placed on the DL with an elbow strain and is due back May 9th. Roy Oswalt was placed on the DL with a soar lower back and is possibly due back on May 13th. Jose Contreras was put on the DL with a strained right flexor pronator tendon (what ever that is) and Carlos Ruiz was just placed on the DL with a strained lower back. Through all of these injuries the Phillies have had to count on guys to fill in and get the job done, so far so good the Phillies are 21-10 with a 3 game lead on the Marlins in the NL East.
The starting pitching for the Phillies has been the talk of the town. The four aces and Joe Blanton were going to dominate the NL this season...well at least the 4 aces were going to. With the injuries to Heavy B and Roy Oswalt guys like Vance Worley were given a chance to start and Kyle Kendrick was again placed in the starting rotation. Both pitchers impressed in their starts, showing the depth and coaching the Phillies have at the position. Worley is 2-0 in two starts and Kendrick is 1-0, if continued to be called upon either one of these guys can step in and get the job done.
With the injuries to the bull pen their was major concern surrounding who would be the closer and how the Phillies would shuffle around the guys in the pen. So far the Phillies bull pen has been one of the best in baseball and they are currently ranked 9th. They are 5-3 on the season with a 2.85 era and 9 saves. Ryan Madison has answered the call in the closer's roll, saving 3 games in 3 chances. Guys like Bastardo and Stutes have stepped up and guys like Romero and Baez have returned to form. The injuries haven't taken even a hiccup of a toll when it comes to the bull pen.
The biggest are of concern for the Phillies is the lineup. The lack of power has been evident over the first month or so of the season and a lot of that has to do with the absence of Chase Utley. The good news is Utley has started his rehab stint in Florida this week and could be back before the end of the month. Even with the lack of power the Phillies keep on winning because their is no replacement for starting pitching.
The Phillies fought through injuries last season and I expect they will do the same this season. There is a lot of depth on the team and great coaching. It's a long season and it's best to get the injuries out of the way early, lets hope they are healthy and ready to go once the long stretch of summer begins in June. If not, no worries, this team will be just fine.