“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Phillies 1st Half Grades

In Philadelphia Phillies on July 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

With the 2nd half of the season starting tonight in Colorado, for a three game series against the Rockies, the Phillies stand 37-50, 14 games behind the 1st place Washington Nationals, with 75 games to play. Needless to say, every game, not just every series, is critical if the Phils are going to make the playoffs.  Lets assume the three division leaders, Washington, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, hold on to win their respective divisions. That would leave a battle between Atlanta, the Mets, Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Francisco and possibly Arizona for the two Wild Card spots. These teams currently have between 39 and 43 loses. Realistically, the Phillies have to make up 10 games in the standings rather than 14. As we found out last season in baseball with the Cardinals, in football with the Giants, and in hockey with the Kings, it’s about getting to the dance and being hot at the right time.

With that said, every player, coach and the manager, are going to have to step up their game if the Phils are going to win 48 out of the last 75 games that it will likely take to make the playoffs. Hopefully 85 wins will be enough. We’re looking for a big 2nd half of the season, but must see improved play across the board.

Here is our 1st half player reports card:

“A+” – Carlos Ruiz. There’s not much more that can be said about Chooch that hasn’t been said. He’s done it all.

“A” – Jonathan Papelbon. Paps hasn’t been perfect but he’s been pretty close, 18 of 20. He’s lost out on several save opportunities due to the train wreck that is the middle relief.

“A” – Cole Hamels. Hamels has been solid all season. They need to get the contract behind him and turn him loose.  We’re still expecting a 20 win season. (10-4)

“B” – Vance Worley. Although Worley is only 4-5, he was pitching fairly well before he went on the DL and other than a couple rocky outings near the end of the half he’s been the second best starter.

“B” – Juan Pierre. Pierre was a nice Free Agent pickup. He cooled off at the end of the half but still has a .307 average and leads the team with 20 stolen bases.

“B” – Mike Fontenot. Fountenot can play any position and can be productive with the bat. He’s hitting .325 in only 83 at bats. He’s done a nice job in limited action.

 “B-” – Hunter Pence. Pence has been bad with runners in scoring position and has missed more cutoff men then anybody except Shane Victorino. However, in a lineup with no protection Pence is hitting .285 with 16 HR’s and 50 RBI’s. His game will improve in the 2nd half.

 “C+” – Placido Polanco. Polanco is what he is. He’s hitting just below his career average and plays solid defense. To expect anymore from him would be fooling yourself.

“C” – Freddy Galvis. We’re giving Galvis the benefit of the doubt on this. He was thrown in to the starting lineup when he should’ve been in AAA. He played excellent defense, but isn’t ready to hit big league pitching. His back injury and suspension put his future in jeopardy.

“C” – Ty Wigginton. Wigginton is another guy that gets the benefit of the doubt since he was thrown in to a full time starting role. He has hit 9 home runs in the 1st half of the season but has hit only .247. Moving him to 3rd base was a disaster.

“C” – Jake Diekman and Michael Schwimer. These guys have actually done decent work out of the bullpen. They are 1-0 and 0-1 with 3.57 and 3.60 ERA’s in 19 and 20 appearances respectively.

“C” – Raul Valdez. Valdez was pitching well before being sent to the minor leagues. He was given a start when he returned and it blew up his stats.

“C” – Brian Schneider. Like Polanco, Schneider is what he is.

“C” – Roy Halladay. Again, the benefit of the doubt. We’re going to assume Halladay was hurt all season and tried to pitch through it. He needs to be huge in the 2nd half if the Phils are going to make a move.

“D” – Joe Blanton. Blanton doesn’t get an “F” because he’s carried a big load for this pitching staff. He’s managed to win 7 games and has pitched over 100 innings, 2nd on the team to Hamels. It sure hasn’t been pretty.

 “D” – Jimmy Rollins. JRoll gets a “D” because he had a decent month of June and he’s still solid in the field. What appears to be his unwillingness to change his approach at the plate and continuing to hit the ball the air for easy outs is very perplexing. A .310 on-base percentage for a leadoff man is awful.

“D” – Cliff Lee. Lee pitched in to some hard luck early in the season when the Phils didn’t score any runs, but has been bad himself as well. A pitcher that is as good as Lee has to have more than 1 win at the All Star break.

“D” – Jim Thome. Thome is a class act (leadership) and gave us a handful of good inter league games but other than that he didn’t produce. It seems the Phils would’ve done a little more homework regarding his health before they brought him back.

 “D-“ Shane Victorino. Victorino looks like he’s in a world of his own. He hasn’t hit, played as well as he always has in the field, or run the bases like we’re used to. He’s constantly missing cutoff men with his throws. We’ve always been big Shane fans but he’s been a huge disappointment this season.

“D-“ – Kyle Kendrick. It’s hard to figure Kendrick out. He’s just inconsistent. 2-8 with a 4.89 ERA doesn’t cut it.

“D” – Charlie Manuel and his Staff. Our down side regarding Manuel is that the team doesn’t appear to be playing hard. His reluctance to move Rollins from the leadoff spot is frustrating, as well as the fact that they are playing poor fundamental baseball. Those are all ultimately his responsibility. On the positive side, the injuries and under talented bullpen he’s been given to work with can’t be blamed on him. As far as the staff, it’s difficult to tell who’s doing what. For half of the season they didn’t hit and the second half they didn’t pitch. How much of that responsibility goes to Greg Gross and Rich Dubee? Juan Samuel has made some horrible decisions at 3rd base along the way.   

 “F” – John Mayberry. Mayberry was handed the leftfield job and couldn’t handle it. He’s hitting .232 with 6 home runs. Maybe the expectations were too high.

“F” – Chad Qualls. Obviously that experiment didn’t work. He’s gone.

“F” – Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo has lost the strike zone. The Phils hope that he regains his form from most of last season but he’s struggling. His 5.34 ERA as a setup man won’t work. He’s a young guy that may need some time in AAA to get himself back together.

“F” – Joe Savory. We feel Savory has a chance to be a good big league reliever but he’s not ready. Like Bastardo, his 5.87 ERA in 17 appearances doesn’t cut it.

“F” – Jose Contreras. Another experiment that failed. His career is probably over after his 17 games and 5.27 ERA in 2012.

“INCOMPLETE” – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jason Pridie, Pete Orr, Eric Kratz, Lance Nix, Hector Luna, Michael Martinez, Michael Stutes, David Herndon, BJ Rosenberg, Brian Sanchez, Jeremy Horst

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  1. As always i like your optimism based on a logical review of the facts.

    Come on Bill, the fan in me says fire the manager make some crazy trades and expect them to win 50 out of 75.

    • I’ve been thinking about you and hoping all is well. The crazy fan in me wants wholesale changes to but the changes I want to see would bring very little value on the trade market. This should be a good ballclub that will hopefully perform that way in the 2nd half.

  2. You didn’t grade him, but I would probably give Ruben Amaro a Z-minus for putting this team together. Paps and Pierre were good moves. Every other move he made has not only been bad, it has been a disaster.

    Let’s hope he doesn’t screw up the Hamels negotiations or make a stupid trade before the deadline. I have no confidence in this man right now.

    • Kevin, Rube is an easy target this season. You’re right about most of his moves but when it comes down to it the players have to play. If Rollins and Victorino play half way decent this is a much better ball club. The late decision on the Utley injusry and missing the 1st half is a mystery to me. Somebody didn’t tell or somebody didn’t do anything about it.

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