Apr 21, 2009

Slice of a Season: Part 1 of 18

Since the baseball season is long (a marathon, not a sprint they always say). Let's keep track of the Phillies 2009 season in digestible bites. A weekly wrap-up doesn't give justice to the ups and downs that a team goes through because it's so uneven.
Therefore, I've decided to summarize the season in 9 game swaths, the equivalent of 3 series, barring rainouts and schedule unevenness. Plus, 9*18=162...I like even numbers. I'm behind on this one because of being out of town this weekend.

Slice of a Season: 2009, Slice 1
Slice Record: 4-5
Cumulative Record: 4-5

Standing at Slice's End: 4 games behind 8-1 Marlins

Opponents that hurt the Phillies: Braves, Padres, weather

Opponents that helped the Phillies: Rockies

Ignominious First: Allowing Washington to win their first game of the season

Nemesis Alert: Derek Lowe

Win to Remember: Scoring 8 runs in the 7th and one in the 8th to defeat the Braves 12-11 on April 8, 2009

Loss to spill milk over: Losing 8-7 to the Padres on April 17, blowing 7-1 lead after 4 innings

Hitting Heroes: Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard

Need Adjustments: Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chris Coste

Fire Starters on the Mound: Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Chan Ho Park

Holding the Fort Down: Clay Condrey, Scott Eyre, J.A. Happ

The first slice of the season breaks down simply. When the hitting was on, the pitching was not. And the pitching was never really on during this time period. When your team ERA is approaching 7 and the opponent's BA allowed is .300, it is difficult to consistently win ballgames. Three straight games of allowing exactly 8 runs marked the end of the time period (Update: The streak was extended to 4 straight games). The offense has shown flashes of power and capability. They have performed with an .OPS of nearly .800. However, the top of the lineup is not getting on base enough to take advantage of the healed Utley, slimmer Howard, and focused Ibanez. Jayson Werth also needs to perform well to avoid having three lefties in a row in the middle of the lineup for late-game situations.

A peek ahead: The rest of the series with the Padres, a series with Milwaukee, a series with the 1st place Marlins

Please let me know how to improve this feature and make it more comprehensive. Also, please suggest categories to add.

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