Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Phils June 2008 By The Numbers

If you looking for good or cheery news about the Phillies, I'm not sure this is going to be the article you're looking for. It's going to be very tough to find the silver linings in the numbers for a team that has struggled as badly as the Phillies have struggled in the month of June.

The crux of the matter is that the Phillies are built around their offense. As their offense goes, so goes this ball club. They have serviceable starting pitching; it's not great, but it's good enough when they are hitting. The month of June saw many of the Phillies, including everyone's favorite second baseman, run into significant slumps that cost the team opportunities and wins in the month of June, as, amazingly, they are still in first place by a 0.5 game as play begins today in the month of July.

So, without further adieu, onto the numbers for June.....


The number of wins for the month of June 2008. Since the series in the beginning of the month against Atlanta, where they swept the Braves in Atlanta, the Phillies have dropped six straight series. While it's true, some of the series were against division leaders such as Boston and Anaheim, dropping series against AL teams like Texas and Oakland should not happen if the Phils were on top of their game.

I've heard and read a good number of items where it was mentioned that there is relief that the Phillies are getting out of the interleague portion of their schedule and I suppose when you're playing as poorly as the Phillies are right now, you'll struggle to grasp any straws that you can. But the fact of the matter is, if they don't right the ship now, it doesn't matter what team they are facing. Furthermore, weren't the AL teams they were facing up against the same lack of familiarity that the Phils themselves failed to adjust to? If the Phils are struggling offensively because of lack of familiarity with the American League, explain to me how the American League has been just teeing off on the NL pitchers at such a prodigious rate? Are the AL advanced scouts that much better? Is it truly that the AL is a better league?


The number of runs scored by the Phils in June 2008. That figure puts them at 20th in the majors in runs scored for the month of June. In and of itself, that is bottom half of the league for the month and not good news for a team that is so reliant on their offense.

Take away the June 13th game, when they tacked up 20 runs on the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phils would have scored only 92 runs for the month.....a figure that would have put them ahead of only 3 other teams in the majors. One of those teams, fortunately, is in their division (the Washington Nationals).


The batting average for the Phillies, as a team, for the month of June, better than only two teams in MLB (Cincinnati and Arizona). I usually take an individual and highlight how much that person stood out, good or bad with their numbers. In the case of the Phillies this past month, they've been bad as a team.

Oh, there have definitely been some prime offenders. Geoff Jenkins hit .143 for the month as a semi-regular. You would have thought he would have been a good choice to help the Phils when they went on the road in the AL parks to DH. Not so.

Carlos Ruiz hit a paltry .178. Ruiz should lose some starts to Coste for this reason alone, but how much pressure can you put on a 30 something Chris Coste?

The worst offender, by far, was Jimmy Rollins. The Phils' leadoff man, the MVP of the NL, hit a paltry .217 in the month of June. That wouldn't have been so bad if he was getting on base alot, but is OBP was under .300 for the month. This team seems only as good as it's offensive stars. None of them performed up to standards in the month of June and ironically, they were led into mediocrity by their leadoff man.


The number of wins in the month of June acheived by both Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick.

Other then the one bad start Kendrick had against the Red Sox, Kendrick pitched well enough to keep the Phillies in just about every game he's pitched in. Lost in the 20 runs the Phils posted on St. Louis in the June 13th games is that he gave up only 1 earned run in 7 innings. Additionally, Kendrick shut out the Oakland A's, providing a tourniquette to the wounded Phils on their West Coast trip.

Cole Hamels has not had an outing where he's gone less than 7 innings in about a month. What Hamels has missed out on is either run support (losing to the Angels 3 - 2) or bullpen help (Tom Gordon implosion vs. Florida on June 11th).
Unfortunately, for the Phils, 3 is also the number of losses that Brett Myers was saddled with in the month of June. Myers' time in the rotation is probably limited and he might even welcome being skipped after the 2 inning effort he handed in against Texas. The Phils lost every game he started in June (5) and Myers' ERA for the month was an almost satanic 6.67.


Chad Durbin's ERA for the month of June in 9 appearances. Durbin is a prime candidate to take Brett Myers' spot in the rotation as he does have starting experience. Moving Durbin, however, might upset the delicate balance of a bullpen that has been an absolute rock of gibralter for this club all year.


The number of hits Chase Utley got in 20 AB vs. Boston and Anaheim at home. Also of note: Utley is hitting only .250 this season to date with runners in scoring position. This is a full 54 points lower than he hit all of last year in the same situation.

As fast as Chase Utley had gotten out of the gate this year, he has slowed up just as abruptly. Is this something systemic that Utley has to work out or is this a function of Jimmy Rollins being unable to get on base on a consistent basis?


What a brutal month of baseball this team flopped out there in the month of June. Some of it can be written off to not knowing the AL pitchers they were facing, but some of it is that this team is just not hitting right now. As they open up their schedule in the month of July with divisional opponents Atlanta and New York, the Phillies must decide what type of ballclub they are going to be going down the stretch. They can look at the positive in that they are still in first place despite playing their worst baseball of the year, but this team cannot just snap it's collective fingers and turn the clutch hitting back on.

Furthermore, now is the time to extricate Brett Myers from the rotation. He should be skipped at least one start. The guy to bring up? JA Happ is currently 5 - 6 for a terrible Lehigh Valley ball club, but he's got a 3.54 ERA and leads the IL in strikeouts with 104. He's a relatively young guy of 25 years old. Now is the time to see if this guy has anything. If he helps, it puts the Phils in a better negotiating position when it comes time to deal for another starter around the time of the trade deadline (for the inevitable Adam Eaton meltdown). If he doesn't help, at least you've tried to make it work from within the organization and then perhaps you check to see if Kris Benson is ready for a start or two.

Regardless, this team cannot go into this stretch of games with the status quo intact.

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