The Phils begin the 2nd half of their season by playing their divisional foes. They go on the road to play Florida and New York. They come home for a weekend series with the Braves and then head down to DC for a mid-week series with the Nats.
Now is a good time to think back about what happened in the first half of the season and a couple of predictions on what it is to come.
1st half MVP: The Phillies bullpen. Possibly a bit of a cop out from selecting a single, individual Phillie to represent their team MVP, but you can find some sort of inconsistency with just about every player on the roster (including our beloved St. Chase of Utley).
The bullpen as a unit, on the other hand, is probably the biggest reason why the Phils are in a tie with the Mets for first place today. The bullpen ERA of 2.71 leads all of Major League Baseball
The fact is, despite the Phils being tied for first place, I don't think we've seen the best baseball, offensively, from this team yet.
Biggest 1st half disappointment: Brett Myers. His status as "staff ace" was scoffed at by the fanbase in the beginning of the season and Myers then went on to show the fans how right they were. His 3 - 9 record is bad enough. Couple that with his brutal ERA (5.84) and he has single handedly assisted in killing the Phillies once every 5 days.
Personally, I still can't believe the way Myers came out and pitched this season, as if he was unprepared for the mental and physical rigors of starting pitching. Hopefully, his little trip down to the minors helps him get his mind and body back into starter mode for the second half, either with the Phillies, or as part of a trade to another team.
1.) I know the Mets are playing good ball right now and have won 10 in a year. I think with this winning streak, coupled with how inconsistent the Phils have been to date, is about as close as the Mets are going to get this year. Once the Phils start hitting (which history says will happen in the 2nd half), this division race will be over.
2.) Ryan Howard will get his average up around .260 for the year.
3.) There will be hue and cry for Shane Victorino to lose his starting job as his numbers drop as the season wears on. I do not like Victorino's future as a starter.
4.) Cole Hamels will win 20 games.
5.) Because of the Joe Blanton trade, Brett Myers will be traded in a deal that will help the Phillies plug the hole in their outfield caused by the departure of Aaron Rowand. And yes, I do believe the Phils miss Rowand FAR more than the front office would like to admit.
6.) Jamie Moyer will be within 15 points of Carlos Ruiz' batting average by the end of the year. Other than Victorino, there is better than 50% chance that Carlos Ruiz will either lose his job or lose significant playing time.