Friday, June 19, 2009

Fifth Best in American League East

Yesterday, I was at the Phillies game- and thus had a first hand look at this ongoing wreck of a homestand. The Phillies 1-5 mark this week is only salved by the Mets corresponding lackluster 2-4. The Phillies sharp 7-3 road trip has been largely erased (they are still up two games over the Mets over that duration however). The NL East has done little this week to suggest they are in the class of their American League counterpart.

The Phillies haven’t looked this bad, well, since last year’s run through the American League- when they were dominated by a collection of good and just above even AL outfits. The reasons for these embarrassing marks against the other league are closely tied to their poor home record. Their poor starting pitching, from a matchup standpoint, hurts them “extra” against great to very good offenses and also in this hitter’s ballpark (which moves everyone’s offense up a notch).

You can’t make pitching mistakes, generate poor WHIP figures or allow a ton of homeruns anywhere- but it is a real killer in this ballpark and against this AL clubs with quality hitters top to bottom: Red Sox and Toronto. The Phillies seem to start a ton of games at home down 3-1, 4-0, etc. after the third inning- as their starting pitching gets punished for mistakes and situations that might be a little more escapable against the Braves and Marlins or away from the launchpad at home. These National League attacks seem more balanced their American League counterparts: speed, gap power in the three hole, etc.- where the good AL brings thunder every which way. The Phillies rotation seems more prone to be hurt by the latter. Our offense can cover for a couple of manufactured runs- not multiple early crooked numbers on the linescore.

Speaking of the Jays, I don’t know about you, but that is a good team. Their starting pitching is better than Philadelphia- and they have a lot of professional hitters in that line-up. They knocked around all elements of our pitching- starting and relief. Being third in the loaded AL East is no shame- and after watching the AL East win multiple series versus the Mets and Phillies, it is hard to argue that either Philadelphia (awful starting pitching) or the Mets (injuries everywhere) would be ahead of Toronto or Tampa Bay. And after this week’s ugly result (again, with an eye on the Mets), the Phillies seem to be a step behind Toronto and Boston.

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