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Phillies Weekly Wrapup: Cliff Lee's dominance followed by injury, Jim Thome, the offense, and more

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Three up, Three Down: Phillies Weekly Wrap-Up

Each week, Philly2Philly’s Matt Babiarz will wrap up the previous seven days of Phillies’ baseball with Three Up, Three Down.  It’s a rundown of 3 positives and 3 negatives from the past week.

THREE UP!

1.  Halladay Flips the Switch

Here’s something to remember next spring.  When you hear anyone expressing concern about Roy Halladay’s control, velocity, or anything else related to pitching success, just tell them they are utterly clueless.

After all, here is a comparison of Roy Halladay’s six spring training starts versus his first four regular season starts.  

Spring Training Regular Season
IP

22

30

ER

14

5

H

26

19

HR

7

0

ERA

5.73

1.50

 

Doc is definitely losing it, huh?Cliff Lee photo: The Canadian Press

2. Utter-Lee Dominant

Here’s a few facts to illustrate just how awesome Cliff Lee was in that painful extra-inning loss the Giants on Wednesday. Lee needed 89 pitches to complete his first nine shutout innings.  It only took 102 pitches for him to get through ten innings, and 81 of those pitches were strikes.

Lee retired the side in order five times and induced 18 ground ball outs, including 4 for double plays.  He also struck out seven Giants on his way to becoming the first Phillie to pitch ten scoreless innings since Steve Carlton accomplished the feat 31 years ago. Of course, Lee might not have had to go to the disabled list with an oblique injury if the Phillies could have scored a single run for him.

3.  Any News is Good News-

Let’s be honest.   This week was not exactly filled with “ups” for the Phillies and their fans.  But, we can’t change the title to “Two Up, Three Down”, so there is one other thing that could be viewed as a positive this week.  The Phillies announced that they will provide an update on Ryan Howard’s progress, and will also meet with Chase Utley when they arrive in Arizona on Monday.Supposedly, there has been some progress with Utley’s rehab, and the team will find out on Monday if Howard can start with more baseball activities. One has to wonder if the mere reporting of progress from these two players will provide a bit of a boost to the clubhouse as they wrap up their road trip with a tough series against the Diamondbacks before returning home to face the lowly Cubs.

THREE DOWN!

1. The Big Three are Great, but This is Ridiculous

Regardless of any arguments that you sometimes hear, there is still no team that can compare their top three starters to those of the Phillies. Halladay, Lee, and Cole Hamels are a three-game series nightmare for opposing managers (and hitters). But, we certainly never expected those ace starters to be outhitting key members of the Phillies lineup.  

Halladay, Lee and Hamels have combined to hit .304 so far this seasoJim Thome photo: Chestnut Hill Localn (7-for-23).  That is more than 100 points better than the Phillies are getting from Placido Polanco and John Mayberry Jr, who are hitting .196 and .184 respectively.  It is also significantly higher than the team batting average of .247.  You would probably be hard pressed to find another team whose top three starters are outhitting two of the top five members of their batting order.

2.  Of Course We Love Thome, but…….

There wasn’t a legitimate Phillies fan that didn’t have some serious warm and fuzzy feelings when Jim Thome came back to town this winter.  

Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite lumberjack has really lumbered while coming nowhere near a jack.  Thome is hitting .125 so far this season and has struck out 9 times in 16 at bats. That’s good for 0 home runs and 0 RBIs,  and even more discouraging is how badly he is missing on most of those whiffs.  

Wilson Valdez photo: Nick Laham, Getty Images

3. What if Phillies Offensive Stats Were One Player’s Season Stats?

Entering Sunday’s game against the Padres, the Phillies have accumulated 500 at-bats, which got me thinking.  If 500 at-bats are still considered pretty standard for an everyday offensive player in Major League Baseball, what would we think of a player who posted this stat line for a season:.247 batting average, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, and 39 RBIs.

 Here’s the answer to that question.  We would think his name was Wilson Valdez, and he was having the best season of his career. 

Yep, that’s where this offense is, folks.  

 

Matt Babiarz was born and raised in the Philadelphia area.  He graduated from the University of Alabama, but remained a very close observer of the Philadelphia sports scene.  He recently began covering the Phillies for Philly2Philly.com.   You can also read his work at Bleacherreport.com within the Philadelphia Phillies section. 

Matt can be contacted at mattbabz@comcast.net  

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Photos:

Cliff Lee: The Canadian Press

Jim Thome: Chestnut Hill Local

Wilson Valdez: Nick Laham, Getty Images