Phillies offense on a tearby Joseph Birmingham
The Phillies put an exclamation point on their quick start this season by loading up early and often on the Nationals in their fifth meeting and winning 14-7.
Amid concerns that with the loss of Jimmy Rollins and Jaysen Werth, the team may struggle on offense; the rest of the team turned in another winning performance. Werth made a late performance as a pinch hitter so it seems obvious his absence from the starting lineup will be brief. Rollins calf injury may be more serious then was at first thought, which is a shame given his extremely fast start.
If there is ANY early question about the Phillies this year, it would have to be their starting pitching. Halladay is a lock, and Hamels is 2-0 but has been shaky. Happ looks as good as he did last year and Moyer just keeps throwing up W’s. But tonight, Kendrick, subbing for the injured Joe Blanton, lasted a mere 1 and 2/3 innings after giving up 6 runs and saw his ERA shoot above 17. We need Blanton back. Hey, where was the last Martinez sighting anyway ?
Three middle relievers combined to hold the Nationals to 1 run from the 3rd inning on.
The bottom line, no matter the injury, the focus is on offense. When one Phillie is out of commission, another simply steps it up a notch and fills the gap. There are many teams that struggle to score 14 runs at all in a game, and I have the feeling we may see this another dozen or more times this year, when the team gets in sync and everyone has a couple hits and a couple RBI.
Tonight, Victorino broke out of his mild slump with a 4-5 day with a triple, homerun, and 5 RBI’s. He was listed on ESPN’s MLB top performers of the day board. Utley went 2-4 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. He also appeared on the top performers board. Polanco maintained his torrid pace going 2-4 to keep his average in the .480′s
Overall the first four in the lineup were a combined 10-18 with 12 RBI.
It seems clear to me now that the team is off to a 7-1 start that they may be substantially better than they were in 2008. If the pitching solidifies, this offense is lethal. And every new addition to the sluggers row has stepped up and over performed, as in Ibanez, and Francisco and now Polanco. With six guys in the lineup that are each capable of a clutch hit, homerun or other run producing play, it is extremely difficult for a pitcher to work his way through this lineup.
Oh, and by the way, our pitchers can hit too !
Looks like it is going to be a long, enjoyable summer ahead with the Phillies setting the pace the whole way !