Friday, July 13, 2012

Phils looking to turn things around entering 2nd half

The unofficial second half of the season gets under way tonight and the Phillies have some serious work to do if they're going to fight back into contention.

At 37-50, the Phils are in last place in the NL East, 14 games behind the first place Nationals. They're ten games behind in the Wild Card race, behind eight teams and ahead of just four teams in the National League.

Phillies All-Stars Jonathan Papelbon, Cole Hamels and Carlos Ruiz all said the right things in Kansas City this week. Papelbon insisted trading Hamels would be the wrong move as would firing Charlie Manuel. They're maintaining a positive attitude moving into post all-star break play.

Last night, Roy Halladay made his first rehab start for Single-A Clearwater, allowing one unearned run over three innings. There is a good chance he'll be back in the rotation early next week at Dodger Stadium. Barring a setback or injury to anyone else, it will be the first time all season the starting lineup and rotation is in tact.

The return of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hasn't quite been the boost the organization expected them to be at this point. In ten games back, Utley is batting .235 (8-for-34) with three runs, two home runs, three RBI, eight strikeouts, one walk, .278 OBP, .412 SLUG and .690 OPS. In just two games, Howard is batting .250 (2-for-8) with no runs, one double, no RBI, two strikeouts, no walks, .250 OBP, .375 SLUG and .625 OPS. Since Utley made his debut on June 27, 1-10.

Things aren't looking good, but a team or two usually comes out of the break hot and gains some ground in the standings. The Phillies need to be that team if they're going to have any chance.

Cliff Lee gets things underway tonight, in his first start since July 4 in which he picked up his first win of the season. Lee (1-5, 3.98) is just 1-2 in his last three starts with a 5.95 ERA. He's 1-0 in his career against Colorado, with a 1.29 ERA and nine strikeouts in seven innings. Christian Friedrich (4-6, 5.98) starts for the Rockies. He's 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA in his last three starts. The rookie will make his first career start against Philadelphia.

No comments:

Post a Comment