Jake Westbrook and Cliff Lee are scheduled for Saturday night's second game between the Cardinals and Phillies. First pitch is 7:05. Until then, here are some general team stats worth considering.
Offense: There's more evidence to support the notion that in order to be taken seriously next season, the Phils need to zero in on at least one, big bat this off-season. Weakened (on paper) by a pair of trade deadline moves (although neither Shane Victorino nor Hunter Pence were lighting it up and one could argue they've improved with Domonic Brown and Nate Schierholtz at the corners), the offense hasn't gained any traction and has posted a middling .236/.305/.396 post-All Star slash line, worse than what they produced the first half. After climbing to the league average in offensive production following a steady May and decent June, fueled by a lot of base hits, they've fallen five from the bottom in National League OPS+ (91).
Defense: Perhaps the biggest season-over-season regression has come in this department. Playoff teams routinely rate at the top defensively, just as the Phils did last season, posting a .703 Baseball-Reference Defensive Efficiency, good for third in the National League. This season, they're at .685, which is five from the bottom. Washington, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles are this season's best defenders, which, aside from San Diego, is reflected in the standings.
Pitching: They've gotten a number of very strong outings from their starting rotation lately, including Roy Halladay's last two starts, Cole Hamels' complete-game shutout his last turn and a handful of quality starts from Joe Blanton leading up to his trade to the Dodgers. Post-All Star, they're 14-11 with a 3.48 ERA. On the whole, they're the best K/BB team in the league and second best K/9. Unfortunately, those numbers are counterbalanced by the third-most HR/9 and, generally, too many meltdown innings from the bullpen.
Conclusion: So what are the Phillies? They're tire-spinners, essentially, hurt by a lack of defensive playmakers, late-inning relief and a below-average offense that needs to become this winter's No. 1 priority. But you knew all that.
Notes: Charlie Manuel suggested Friday that Kyle Kendrick will take his next scheduled turn. Right-handed farmhand Gabriel Bermudez, who was pitching with the Venezuelan affiliate, was suspended 50 games for testing positive for metabolites.