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Wednesday, April 25, 2007



I understand you're skeptical, but this last week has shown something that we should all be excited about: The Phillies rotation, even without Myers, is very good. It's the reason the Phils surged last year. It's the reason they have a shot at the playoffs this year.

Since Myers was sent to the bullpen:

- Eaton allows 4 ER in 6.0 IP
- Moyer allows 2 ER in 8.0 IP
- Lieber allows 0 ER in 5.2 IP
- Hamels allows 1 ER in 9.0 IP
- Garcia allows 2 ER in 5.0 IP
- Eaton allows 4 ER in 7.0 IP
- Moyer allows 3 ER in 6.0 IP

Lieber and Garcia are still stretching out and will soon pitch longer into games.

The Phils have a long way to go to climb out of the hole, but that rotation will keep them in a lot of ballgames.

Don't forget that the Mets and the Braves gained some of their victories by beating up on the Nationals and the like. The Phillies are right where they should be. Hopefully they can keep getting decent pitching and they should be able to challenge the Mets and the Braves.

The Phillies are 1-6 against the Mets and Braves. They will not be legitimate contenders unless they can at least be .500 against them.

As you may have gathered during earlier threads, I strongly disagree with this line of thinking. I think the point here is, the Phillies couldn't even have beat these kinds of 'lesser' teams the way they were playing two weeks ago. Bob Ford's column kind of backs this up with an observation that's hard to disagree with: last night's game was a one the Phillies would surely have found a way to lose the previous week. So was Monday night's, for that matter. Regardless of the opponents, they're playing better baseball all-around, and that's cause for legitimate optimism.

Are the bats finally clicking? Enough of them are. They're playing like a team, and there's a lot of slack being picked up for Howard. I'm not overly concerned about Howard; when he gets it back, I think he's going to stay with it. It's a matter of time before it falls into place for him. Helms is absolutely better than David Bell with the bat, and I think he'll show that definitively soon enough. I think the bottom of the order, mostly thanks to Rowand, has been much more productive than I believed it would be, and this has been giving the offense a better balance. The thing that's most encouraging about the offensive output lately is that there hasn't been the usual reliance on homeruns. Yes, the pitching they've faced hasn't been as strong, but that's only one way of looking at it. The rest of the story is that the Phils are doing what it takes to put some solid wins together.

Having said that - I can't argue with what Kingman says. They'll need to bring this improved play to games against the stronger divisional rivals if they're to be taken seriously. I just think what's happening now is at least a good start on the right path, and a necessary one.

F&*^ing Gillick, why'd he sign Alfonseca?!? Oh, that has worked thus far...

A game like last nights in 2005 or 06 would have been thrown away until the very end, down 2, 2 men on, winning run at the plate, only to strike out. The baserunning last night was very solid, too, especially on the play where Helms was out at third. Burrell did not let up.

RSB: The Phillies don’t exist in a vacuum (although it sometimes feels that way and I know where you're coming from). I mean, Monday night. Chris Sampson. The guy was brutal. If he missed a bat, it was by accident …

I hear you, Sampson wasn't good - but then again, he shut them down in an important game last season, and he had good numbers coming into that start. Regardless, my point remains that the Phillies *aren't beating themselves* the way they were earlier on. The mistakes and poor fundamental/situational play have dropped off substantially, and that registers more deeply to me than the improved offense as a whole.

I wouldn't be too concerned about Howard's, I am posting this after his right field blast, but I would have said this earlier. A guy who wins the Home Run Derby, season MVP and hits 58 homers with 140 some RBI the season before, will eventually turn it around. It's just a matter of time. Look at it this way; the Phils are surging without Howard's bat....yipppeeee.

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