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Monday, April 27, 2009

Have the Phillies Started Their Engines Yet?

After a few questionable weeks of the 2009 baseball season, it looks as though the Phillies are finally getting down to business after a weekend sweep of the division leading Florida Marlins. The last game, the team exploded for 13 runs as the get their record over the .500 mark and within a game and a half of the top. The main point here being if they can maintain a little bit of this momentum and finish the month with more wins than losses.

In the beginning, it looked as if Raul Ibanez was going to have 170 RBI, but he has cooled. At the same time other guys like Chase Utley and Shane Victorino have picked it up and helping them win these much needed early games. Ryan Howard, who has been relatively quiet with only three home runs to date, has at least kept his average respectable at .290. Luckily for the Phils, as the weather gets hotter, so typically does Howard.

The starting pitching on the other hand is surely not indicative of a team even close to even in the standing department. Of all the starters, Brett Myers has the lowest ERA, and that is 4.91. Jamie Moyer just picked up his third win, so maybe he is getting back to his 46 year old form. Cole Hamels, well, we’ll have to see whether that shot he took to his arm last week will actually affect his game. He said he wouldn’t miss a start, so I can at least be hopeful.

The Phillies are not supposed to count on the Mets collapsing and the Marlins and Braves withering away at the end of the year. They cannot rely on winning eighty percent of their games the last two weeks of the season. They must take control now, while they can, and get into first place. From that point they can work on staying there and building a lead that they won’t have to worry about surrendering once the last month of the season rolls around. But in order to do this they must start their engines and keep them in high gear for as long as possible and barring multiple injuries, they should be able to simply maintain.

Right as of this moment, they are 9-8, which can easily turn into 9-11 if they are not conscious of the fact that last year was the first winning April that the franchise has had in years. And what happened last year? That’s right, a championship. If they come out ahead this month, then staying ahead should be easier when they guys that start slow start coming out of their slow starts. Hopefully, the pitching will bring itself together so that the offense doesn’t need to score thirteen runs a game although it would be nice.

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