Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week In Review

After six games, there are many uncertainties in Philly.

The first week of Phillies baseball 2013 is in the books. The starting pitching has had great moments, and terrible moments. The offense has been aggressive at times, and then stone cold.

The bullpen, thought to be much stronger this year has really struggled to find consistency.

After six games, the team’s record is 2-4, and the best word to describe them is erratic.

Cole Hamels had an excellent spring in Clearwater, finishing with an earned run average below one, 15 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings. While not always facing top tier hitters, he showed that famous swagger that won him the 2008 World Series MVP.

He seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, yet his first two starts of the regular season have been hard to make sense of.

In two starts, Hamels is 0-2 with an ERA of 10.97. He has allowed 13 runs in just 10.2 innings pitched, along with 16 hits. Charlie Manuel attributed his opening day performance to anxiousness, and possibly being too wound up.

Today he looked uncomfortable, unconfident, and had a hard time getting on the same page with catcher Erik Kratz. His location was also off, as  he walked four hitters and ran many deep counts, often falling behind hitters.

The early struggles of Hamels are particularly concerning when you look at the uncertainty surrounding Roy Halladay.

To say that Doc had a rough spring would be an understatement. His spring ERA was 6.06, and in 16.1 innings, he gave up 21 hits and 11 runs. These numbers are especially alarming given how hard the Phillies have leaned on their starting pitching the past two seasons.

The two time Cy Young award winner lasted only 3.1 innings in his first start in Atlanta. He was charged with five earned runs, six hits and walked three hitters.

Halladay’s biggest struggle has been his health. He didn’t make it out of the fourth last Wednesday, and had one spring start that lasted only one inning. He has shoulder issues last season, and was bit by the flu bug this spring training which affected his energy and strength.

He starts again tomorrow, and all anyone can do right now is hope for the best.

Cliff Lee’s first start in Atlanta was business as usual, an eight inning, two hit shutout that he combined with Jonathan Papelbon to win.

Kyle Kendrick’s first start was much like Hamels today. He had a decent start and an early lead, only to have it slowly whittle away. John Lannan turned in a strong showing Saturday night, eventually resulting in a victory.

Safe to say the starters have been very Jekyll & Hyde so far.

The Phillie hitters have been very inconsistent at different times. One night they managed to score three runs in their last at-bat to earn the win. Another night they can’t manage hardly anything until it’s too late.

Or, they start with a bang, and then seem to sit back and rest on an early advantage, only to have the Kansas City Royals storm back ahead without a response.

Most troubling here has been the play of first baseman Ryan Howard. In the first six games, Howard has a .166 batting average, going 4-24 with three runs batted in and eight strikeouts. Three of those came this afternoon.

Ben Revere, who will be counted on to provide a spark at the top of the lineup, hasn’t quite gotten off the ground yet. He earned his role as leadoff hitter with a strong spring after coming over from Minnesota.

Yes, he has been on base in all but one game so far, and has stolen three bags, but he’s made more outs than they’d like. His average so far sits at .259, and he’s reached base eight times in 28 chances. That number will go up as the season progresses.

Perhaps the biggest issue thus far has been the bullpen.

With the signing of veteran reliever Mike Adams, the team solidified the later innings. The trouble is, Adams has not yet been given the chance to hold a lead for Papelbon.

Fellow free agent, and one time Phil Chad Durbin has struggled mightily. He has allowed 11 of the 15 hitters he’s faced to reach base, and has not succeeded in stranding inherited base runners. The five that he has inherited have all scored.

Lefties Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes have also struggled in the early going. Valdes’ ERA is 14.73, while Horst sits at 10.80.

And oh yeah, Durbin? His earned run average is an even 27.00. After his first appearance in Atlanta last Monday, his ERA was infinity. He did not record a single out.

Now, keep in mind that teams have started seasons with worse records than 2-4. Teams like the Phillies have stumbled out of the gate, yet still manage to remain competitive down the stretch. With a second wild card up for grabs, there is hardly reason for panic.

However, little or no improvement by next Sunday might provide more reasons.

Stats courtesy of Phillies.com

Photo courtesy of Rantsports.com

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