The number of wins the Phils scored in the month of July. The Phils managed to win 5 more games than they lost in the month of July en route to a 15 - 10 record. With their success in July, they managed to close the gap in the NL East to being only 3 games behind the Mets and 1 game out of the wild card. They are doing all of this with one the worst pitching staffs in the Majors (24th out of 30, with a 4.72 team ERA) and have now lost their best player, Chase Utley, to a broken hand on a pitched ball for about a month. They ended the month with a flourish, winning 9 of their last 11 games and continue to do get along with their patchwork pitching staff. They also had quite a bit of home cooking, going 8 - 1 at the Cit House.
The ERA for Jamie Moyer during the month of July. The Phils have been asking alot of the 44 year old Moyer because of the injuries to their starters and maybe the old guy is just wearing down. In 4 of his 5 July starts, he gave up no less than 4 earned runs per start; including a staggering 10 earned runs against the Dodgers on July 16th. I don't think we are going to need Moyer to be Cy Young (or even Chris Young for that matter), but he will need to avoid getting pounded as he did in July.
The July batting average of one Patrick B. Burrell III. Burrell seems to have woken up to the point where he raised his BA a full 59 points from .201 to .260 and even chipped in 6 homers and 22 RBI. "Pat the Bat" will need to step up offensively with the injury to Chase Utley if the Phils are to have any hope to stay in playoff contention. If Burrell was just average in May and June instead of completely and hopelessly terrible, the Phils might be in first place right now.
The July batting average of Carlos Ruiz. I like Ruiz. He's a nice player. I think he's been hurt or something. It's obvious the team has no confidence in Rod Barajas at this point as Barajas had a meager 16 ABs in July. Regardless, if this keeps up.....I got a fever.....and the only cure is more Chris Coste behind the plate. I don't think Coste is Johnny Bench reincarnate or anything, but I KNOW he his better than Barajas right now and maybe even better than Ruiz right now.
The combined number of wins for rookie Kyle Kendrick and journeyman J.D. Durbin in July. If the Phils make any noise with respect to the playoffs, they can look back at the contribution of these two young starters in July. They also had a combined 3.32 ERA to go with their 6 July wins. With the acquisition of Kyle Lohse from the Reds, the Phillies will be moving Durbin to the bullpen, but the Phils could slide Durbin right back in there if they need to in an emergency situation. Durbin looks great in stretches, but seems to lose his concentration and go brain dead occasionally. Kendrick has good composure and doesn't get rattled no matter how bad things disintegrate for him during a game.
The number of men on the Phillies that have been accused of beating their wives (Brett Myers and newly acquired Julio Mateo). Can we trade one of our wife beaters for an outfielder on HGH or something? Or how about a functional alcoholic outfielder with power? Just asking....
Other Notable July Events:
- July 15th brought the event many of us had been anticipating for some time: the franchise's 10,000 loss. Actually, there was a good bit of national press about it at the time (check here for the SI article) and some anticipation by the fan base in the run up to the loss (check out this website). But when it occurred on July 15th, with a 10 - 2 thumping by the Cardinals, the fans applauded the current team on the field, as if not holding them accountable for the team's past. It is obvious there are quite a few players on this team that we have really embraced (Howard, Rollins, Utley, Rowand, Victorino, Hamels, etc.) to the point that the pressure is really on GM Pat Gillick to put some players around these guys we like so much and Manager Charlie Manual to put them in a position to win nightly. Most nights, we question whether or not Gillick or Manual have what it takes to get that done. The applause was a vastly underrated gesture by our fans that didn't get much notice, but it came because the current crop of players have earned our respect. It was for a franchise, however, that I'm not sure always deserves our loyalty.
-Outfielders Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn were both injured on the same game on the last day of the month against the Cubs. Both are on the 15 day DL and both should be commended for getting injured while trying to make a play. Victorino was hustling to avoid getting caught on a double play and Michael Bourn was injured running full speed after a foul ball. Bourn, even after badly spraining his ankle (it was obvious from the replays how he hurt himself), stayed in the game and finished the inning. He was ultimately pulled when he got back to the dugout for his turn at bat.
- Ryan Madson sustained the same (or similar) shoulder strain injury that shelved Brett Myers and will be out for the remainder of the regular season. Huge loss considering he was one of their most consistent right handed arms out of the pen. All of the attention was on losing Utley for a month, but looking back, this might be a loss fans ultimately deem more costly in the long run of the season.
High Point of July 2007:
I'd have to say taking 3 of 4 from the San Diego Padres in their home park. The Padres have the best team ERA in baseball and the Phils just flat out raked in that series, outscoring the Padres in four games by a score of 28 - 8. If we could have just bottled some of that....
Low Point of July 2007:
That's easy. The Chase Utley injury on 7/26. It is the injury that may just kill the Phils chances this year if they cannot keep afloat until he returns. One thing I have been impressed by to date is the play of newly acquired Tad Iguchi. He'll just fill-in at 2B until Utley gets back, but he's been so impressive so far (.444 BA in 5 games so far) that the Phils should look into playing him at 3B if he's capable of playing there. It is my understanding that he hasn't played it since he's been in the States, but according to what I heard Jody Mac say on SR 950 the other day, he did play some 3B in Japan.
Chew on this:
I actually kind of think they're screwed. Their pitching is terrible and thin. Utley is out for a month. But they are so close to being playoff eligible, that if they catch a little luck with newly acquired Kyle Lohse, Tad Iguchi, and if Durbin can keep it together in the bullpen, they can take this race into September and beyond.