Phils give up big inning, lose 5-2

What could have been a champagne drenched locker room turned into just another post game interview spot.  The Phillies woke up Saturday morning with hopes of wrapping up the NL East division for a fourth straight year.  The Braves blanked the Nationals 5-0 in a day game canceling all hopes of clinching tonight against the Mets.  And then the seventh inning happened to the Phillies.  Magic number is still at two after losing tonight 5-2.

So let’s recap.  The win steak is over.  The playoff push is on pause; for now.  The Phillies could not figure out Mets’ rookie Dillon Gee, managing only five hits and two runs.  Hitting his 31st home run of the season, Ryan Howard is responsible for all the Phillies’ scoring for the night.  With two hits in the first inning, the Phils looked to continue their September slugfest against the Mets.

However, after the second inning, the offense went to sleep collecting only three more hits and none after the seventh.  Kyle Kendrick kept the offense in the game through six innings allowing only three hits and no runs.  But after allowing a run in the seventh and loading the bases, Kendrick was pulled for Chad Durbin.  Durbin allowed a three run double to Lucas Duda and another RBI double to Joaquin Arias.

The Phillies went into the seventh inning winning 2-0 and left trailing 5-2.

The Phillies can still clinch the division tomorrow with a win paired with a Braves loss.  If not, they will have to do it on the road in Washington or Atlanta.

Keep the champagne on ice and plastic rolled up.  But don’t put it away.  The Phillies will still need it.  Cole Hamels goes tomorrow for the Phils against Pat Misch.

Another extra inning affair.

What next for the Phillies ? 

Much has been made of Ryan Howard’s performance since his return from the disabled list, and now sources are saying there may still be something wrong with the big man preventing him from playing at 100%.

Last night, the first 6 innings were relatively uneventful as the teams played to a 1-1 draw.  The Phillies looked lifeless after being swept by the Astros in a 4 game series that included losses to former Phillies pitchers J A Happ and Brett Myers as well as a 16 inning heartbreaker that saw some offensive players go 0-7.   Happ, two years ago the team’s ace of the future, outlasted Halladay in the third game to really rub it in.  Of course, for the Astros, this series against last years NL champion and 2008 World Series champion was their post season.  At 12 games below 500 and 16 games out with less than a month to go, the Astros are not playoff bound. 

The Phillies probably are, which makes the 4 game sweep so confusing and upsetting.  They have more to play for but seem to be manuevering into position to win the wild card, instead of pushing the Braves to take the National League East for the third year in a row.  At least we aren’t trailing the Mets, that would be TOO much to bear !

Rollins had a good night, going 3-5 with a double, a walk and a run scored.

Ryan Howard did provide a single in the 7th, sandwiched by walks to Utley and Werth, that may have been the catalyst behind the Phillies go ahead score.   If Howard’s single was the catalyst, Raaauuul Ibanez came through with the clutch hit, a one out single to right that scored the run.  Gregerson came in in relief and got Victorino into a double play fielders choice then struck out Ruiz to end the threat.

Oswalt pitched a masterful game, with 6 strikeouts versus five hits allowed through the first 8 innings.  He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the ninth as the Phillies looked to build on that scant one run lead.  The Phillies however went down one, two, three, and Lidge came in for the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead.

He pitched a typically ugly half inning, with a single, sacrifice, groundout, intentional walk, hit batsman, than the piece de resistance, the balk to push the tying score across the plate.

Oswalt can’t win a game, no matter how well he pitches !

Maybe Charlie will consider letting him keep pitching next start if he has the same stuff.

Rollins doubled to lead off the 12th inning. Polanco singled to center to score Jimmy and put the Phillies up  3-2.  The Phillies FINALLY took advantage of an Atlanta loss and picked up a game on the NL East lead.

Houston we have a problem

For months Phillies fans trotted a sentence that went something like this: “If we can just stay in the race while our stars are out, this team will catch fire once its healthy.”

The team played well above expectations during injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz … and so on.

Now that the gangs finally all here, things were supposed to really take off. Instead, the team has gone into another funk. The Phillies lost to the Astros 3-2 last night, marking the third straight game it has dropped to the lowly Astros. Making matter worse is that two of those losses have come in games started by Brett Myers and J.A. Happ, two former Phillies.

While fans have been stunned by the way the team has played recently, they really should not be. When players are away from the game as long as Utley and Howard were, they rarely come back tearing the cover off the ball. It takes time to get back into a rhythm and unfortunately time in in short supply when you get to mid August. Utley’s swing isn’t quite back yet, while Howard is in a 2-19 funk since returning. That combination could have the Phillies reeling right now but thankfully for them the Braves have joined them in struggling this past week. Atlanta did the Phillies a huge favor yesterday, blowing a 10-1 lead in a loss to the Rockies. Meanwhile the Phillies remain in a tie with the Giants for the Wild Card lead.

I don’t expect the Phillies recent slump to last too much longer. Howard and Utley will get their timing back and the rest of the lineup will benefit from that. This team is still in great position to make another postseason run and has the arms to go up against anyone once they get into serious October baseball. The key will be riding out this storm.

It would also help if they won today. Getting swept by the Astros in a four-game series just isn’t palatable.

Howard to have MRI

Through all of the injuries the Phillies have endured this season the one constant in the lineup has been Ryan Howard. That figures to change for at least a few days as Howard recovers from an injured left ankle. The good news is that Howard does not think he will need to go on the DL even though he is currently on crutches.

David Murphy of is reporting that Howard will have an MRI today.

“I’m not worried that it’s long term,” Howard told NBC10′s John Clark at the airport before visiting team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti. “It’s been 2 days and I’ve been able to put pressure on it and just using the crutches for precautionary measures. Hopefully, maybe it’s like 4, 7 days. Maybe 10 days.”

Howard was hurt when he slid back into second base in the first inning Sunday against the Washington Nationals.

“It’s part of the game,” Howard said. “It’s a little frustrating. Right now the focus is just getting better and see what happens … It feels alright. I can put pressure on it … just need to see how long it takes.”

“There’s pain, there’s swelling. Once we get all the swelling out, we’ll see where it goes from there and what the MRI says and what ligaments are involved.”

If Howard is to go on the DL it will be a giant blow to the team. For all of the guys that have been out of the lineup at times this season – Utley, Polanco, Rollins, Ruiz – the big man has always been there to keep the lineup looking potent. With Howard out of the lineup the Phillies look a whole lot less threatening. The results of the MRI should be known tonight or tomorrow. That news may very well determine if the team can stay in the race.

Guess Who’s Bizack

The Phillies….After seeing some much needed pep Thursdays night vs the Yankees.  The Phillies D ignited their O.  A couple of great plays from Jason Werth and Placido Polanco have many around town believing that it sparked the Phils offense.  After several weeks of seeming that the players were just going through the motions on both sides of the diamond, it was good to see some life.  That buzz carried over into tonight where the Phillies trounced the visit Minnesota Twins 9 – 5.  The score doesn’t show how much the Phils were beating on the Twins.  Scott Mathieson let up two runs late just for the Twins to get 5.  Which is another story in itself, the guys has come off two Tommy Johns surgery and still has a chance to throw in the bigs.  Throw is an understatement.  He was hurling at 98 and 99 mph.  On to the real story Joe Blanton.  The kid had a much needed bounce back game from his last two starts where he lasted 4 and 5 innings.  He earned just his second win of the season going 6 innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs all earned, three walks, one two run shot off Nick, my first Hr of the year, Punto and only striking out one.  After Punto’s two run shot Blanton was relieved of his duties by skipper Charlie Manuel.  Blanton was noticeably upset, but I couldn’t tell if it was with Ruiz for pitch selection, or what.  After being in the dugout for a while, Blanton was still fired up and it took Pitching coach Rich Dubee to calm him down.  The star of the game definitely was Ryan Howard going 4-4 with two Hrs, a triple and a double, falling just a single short of the cycle.  It sucks when you fall a single short. He also scored three runs and had 3 RBI’s Chase Utley wasn’t too bad himself going 2 for 5 with a Hr, 4 RBI’s, and scoring twice.  Many players got off the slump having 11 hits in all.  So was a rematch of the World Series all the Phillies needed to get their offense jump started again.  Only time will tell. But don’t look now this time next week barring any set backs Jimmy Rollins, the catalyst and table setter for the Phils, will be back in the line up doing what Jimmy does best.  You know what it is, he is the spark plug for everything that is the Phils.  Watch out Braves, here comes the Phils……

Oh what is that I see a Sixers spotting.   I would like to Welcome back the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers.  After a brief 8 yeah hiatus, it’s good to see some life in that organization that I hold so near and dear to my heart.  After hitting the lottery and getting the second pick, and then hiring Doug Collins.  (I almost had a mental error and said Doug Mo) Could you imagine?  It appears that Ed Stefanski is the greatest Wizard in all the land.  Pulling a rabbit out of a hat and sending much maligned Sammy Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings.  In return the Sixers received scrappy Andres Nocioni. (See Dan Carcillo, Flyers) and Spencer Hawes.  So with Murphy’s law Dalembert will average 20 and 10 this year, much like Kenny Thomas and John Salmons preformed after they left.  Philly will love Nocioni instantly, he will apitamize every cliche and Philly slogan around.  Personally I think Hawes may be the gem of this deal.  If Doug Collins, who preaches D can get a hold of this kid and teach him how to play D, something Dalembert could never learn, he may be a player.  Hawes is a 7-1 viable low post presence, with a jumper from the outside.  (Which I hate.  Anyone of 6-11 should be down low busting bodies and rebounding.  But what do I know).   I wouldn’t be surprised if Andre Iguadola is gone draft night or shortly there after, having two many guys in the same position and him making too much money he should be on his way out.  Mainly because he ISN’T A MAX CONTRACT PLAYER.  After saying this Thaddeus Young will be traded and I will be upset.  So lastly I would just like to thank my 10, 9, 8, 76ers for giving me some basketball talk back in this town.

Have you seen my baseball … bat?

There’s a giant search going on right now for a precious piece of Philadelphia. It is a piece that has brought much joy to the city’s people the last three seasons. It’s been lost before, but never for this long and to this extreme.

Has anyone seen the Phillies offense?

The Phillies were shut out for the third straight game by the Mets and the fourth time in five games overall. The last time the Mets kept a team off the scoreboard in a three game series, they did it with guys named Seaver and Ryan. This time they did it with Takahashi and Dickey. Just five games ago the Phillies were seven games up on the Mets, now that lead is two. In fact, all five teams in the NL East are within three games of each other.

So what exactly has happened here?

The Phillies offense has always relied on the long ball so periods of offensive struggles have happened , but this is of epic proportions. Every time it looked like the Phillies would finally break through last night they hit into a double play – three to be exact.

Hey, remember those first two weeks of the season when the team was scoring eight runs a game? The Phillies would kill for one right now.

All totaled, the Phillies have scored one run in their last 47 innings. You would think a blooper would have had to fall in just once during this spell. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are striking out at a rate that has Adam Dunn shaking his head. Even Jayson Werth shaving his beard didn’t change his luck.

If you are having a hard time watching this team right now, you are not alone, but keep in mind that it has to end soon. And I feel sorry for the team who faces them when it ends. There’s a lot of frustrating waiting to poor off the bats of these players.

 Hopefully it happens tonight in South Florida against the Marlins. If not we always have the Flyers on Saturday. There is no way anyone is keeping them off the board these days.

Philly Offense Wins Battle of Pennsylvania

Kyle Kendrick took the mound Monday in Philadelphia’s match up with the Pittsburgh Pirates, looking for his second win of the season. The right hander went 8.0 innings (105 pitches) allowing only two runs, striking out four, and leading the Phillies to a 12-2 victory. The win moved Philadelphia to 24-13 on the season. Read more

Halladay’s Efforts Fall Short

In the first game of a double header Wednesday, Roy Halladay returned home to face his old team in Colorado. The Philadelphia ace went 6.1 innings allowing only two earned runs, but his efforts were for not as the Phillies fell 4-3. Read more

Mets Take Game 1

309 pitches and 2 hours and 54 minutes later, the first of 18 meetings this season is out of the way. The top of the NL East went head to head Friday when the Mets traveled to Citizens Bank Park for a weekend series.  The game featured a great deal of offense, but unfortunately, it was not on by the Phillies. New York knocked out four home run, and was able to score 9 runs on 10 hits, for a 9-1 victory. Read more

Phillies Rally Against the Giants

Despite a slow start in their series against the Giants this week, the Philadelphia Phillies would not fall easily, fighting to earn a win. In what was expected to be an exciting series between two of the National League’s best, the Phillies seemed to be overwhelmed with San Francisco in their first two games. The Phillies struggled on both side of the ball as they tallied only three runs, while they allowed San Francisco 11 runs in games 1 and 2. Read more

Ryan Howard gets $125 million deal

The big man will be staying in town for a long time.

The Phillies announced today that they have signed Ryan Howard to a five-year extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2016 season. The deal will put $125 in Howard’s pocket at a rate of $25 million per season.

Complete details have not been released, but the deal ensures fans that they will be seeing long home runs for a long time in Philadelphia.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Howard celebrated his big deal with home run tonight against the Giants.

Strong start for Phitens-home opener today at 3

The Phillies finished thier opening road trip with a 5-1 mark, representing thier best start for a season since 1993 when they started 7-1.  Not only did they win 5 of 6 games but did so by outscoring the opponent 43-18. 

To be fair, the teams they played were not top echelon teams.  The Phillies return for their home opener today at 3pm and face the Nationals for the 4th time already this season.  This time the matchup is Cole Hamels against the Nationals Marquis who gave up 6 runs in 4 innings in his first start against the Phillies down in Washington.

The Phillies started strong, leading the majors in hits, runs, slugging percentage and batting average on their first road trip.  They rank second with a team 2.72 ERA.  They look to continue their success at home. 

Halladay is already paying dividends, going 2-0 with a .56 ERA in his first two starts.  The offense has returned in force with 5 starters currently batting .348 or better.  7 starters have an OBP of .400 or higher.  Polanco, the other off season acquisition is paying equal dividends to Roy Halladay as he is 13-27 with 1 home run and 8 RBI through the first 6 games.   Ryan Howard is leading the team in homeruns (3)  RBI (10) and is batting .357 with only 4 strikeouts.   Jimmy Rollins started the season off looking like the MVP he was several years ago with his batting average pushing .400 and his OBP over .500, exactly what the Phillies need out of their leadoff batter. 

The last time the Phillies started the season this strong, they won the NL East, then won the NLCS against the  Braves, prior to losing to the Blue Jays in the World Series.  More typically of late, this team has started off average and then accelerated through May and June to lead the NL East for the majority of the summer and fall.  This year they actually look to lead the division from start to finish.   Florida briefly held a game advantage but that was swiftly erased when the Phillies went to Houston and swept the Astros last week. 

Even the pitching staff is hitting, with Hamels, Halladay and Moyer all collecting hits on their opening road trip.   When the pitching staff is batting 4-15 you get the feeling this may be the year the Phillies put it all together and set many records en route to another World Series victory. 

The Phillies started the season ranked #3 in the MLB power rankings, behind the NYY and the Red Sox in the AL.   The Yankees are now 4-2 and Boston is at .500 at 3-3 so it is probable the Phillies will move up in the ranking. 

Now I have to sign off, and get moving, so I can get to the park in time for some tailgating before the game starts in 2 1/2 hours.  I was privileged to watch the season opener in DC and am now going to watch the home opener live at Citizens Bank.  I will report on the game once I return home.    If you are my boss, and are reading this, I REALLY am sick, and my doctor prescribed an afternoon of $9 beers and fresh air, so I have to go.  Just don’t ask me for the note, because I think I lost it already ! 

Go Phillies !!!!

Howard may be the greatest Phillie EVER !

I am not by nature a sports reporter.  I started my writing career early in life as a lyricist, then compiled several volumes of short stories, then became a novelist.  I did this as I got my degree is Broadcast Telecommunications and it was always expected I would become either a broadcaster or producer/director/editor.  My life has taken a different path, and so while I remain a wordsmith, I am essentially reporting sports from the viewpoint of a fan with a good degree of statistical analysis thrown in for good measure.

That being said, I did some research.  This is what I found.

There have been rumors of a Howard-Pujols trade and sentiment seems to pretty pretty well divided.  I am a traditionalist and loyalist so I firmly believe Ryan should remain big man on the Phillies teams for his entire career.  And here is why.

Currently the modern player who holds the most offensive records for the Phillies is the incomparable Micheal Jack Schmidt.   Mike still holds the marks for hits, total bases, homeruns, RBI’s, walks and strikeouts.  Howard can certainly challenge some if not all of these.  Schmidt’s 548 homeruns and 1595 RBI represent 11 full seasons for Howard at his current pace, which means he should be getting there around 2016 when he is still 36 years of age.  And Howard has been working himself into better shape as he ages, so I firmly believe he will be a player, barring serious injury, who will play until he is 40.  Schmidt played until he was 39 himself so no reason why Ryan Howard can not do the same.

Schmidts hit record stands at 2234, Howard has 750 after less than 5 full years.  Again, Ryan beats it if he maintains his current pace until 2018.   Schmidts total base record of 4404 represents 10 more years of Howards current level of production so he might not get that one, but could if he plays to age 40. 

Schmidt’s BB and K’s records at 1507 and 1883 may be challenged by Howard as well.  He is certainly on track to break the strikeout records after 4 1/2 seasons with 878 of them, but his strikeouts are slowly going down as his walks go up and he gets more selective at the plate.  If he plays 11 total seasons to get the homerun and RBI team records, and you extrapolate out his current BB and K numbers he would be at 1116 and 2146 !  Hopefully he will strikeout less and walk more, especially if he continues to hit 40 dingers and drive in 140 plus year after year so I am expecting both his career numbers will exceed Schmidt’s before he is done.  

Billy Hamilton still holds 3 team records he established in the 19th century, with 508 stolen bases (OK ! No worry Howard will challenge that one !)  a career .361 average and .468 OBP.  The latter two records will never be touched, even in the new era of steroid influenced statistics, simply because pitchers are better, ballparks are different and seasons are longer with more at bats, allowing batters to need to sustain these percentages for more overall AB’s over the course of a career.   Delahantys career marks for doubles (442)  and triples (157)  are all the more astounding because he set these marks in that same era prior to 1900 but again, outfield arms were not what they are today along with larger ballfields so doubles and triples were a higher percent out of total balls hit back then than today. 

Ashburn the great still holds the record for singles, my guess this is because that is about all he hit in his career here,  with 1811 of them !! And the great Chuck Klein holds the remaining offensive records with an unreal .553 career slugging percentage and  .935 OPS.    Howard is currently at .586 and .961.  If he stays there, two more team records will fall.  

So currently, 5 greats hold all the Phillies batting records over the past 127 years and nearly 20,000 games.   And Howard is the only Phillie to play since Schmidt retired that even had a hint of besting ONE of these records, and I think he stands a good chance to hold 8 or more of them if he finishes his career here.

Now, one word about Pujols.  He rocks, no doubt about it.  But look deeper at the big picture here.

Pujols got an earlier start than Ryan did, and in his 9 years with the team, they have gone to 2 World Series and won 1.  In Howards 5 seasons with the Phillies they have gone to 2 World Series and won 1. 

In Pujols career his team has averaged  90.8 victories per year getting to the post season 6 of 9 seasons.  In Howard’s 5 full seasons the Phillies have averaged 88.8 victories and gotten to the post season 3 of 5 seasons. 

All statistics considered, excpet for the fact that he got an earlier start, these two sluggers are nearly identical on output and team contribution.  But consider this.  Pujols has been in the big leagues nearly a decade now, while Howard is still relatively fresh by comparison.  And Pujols came to a team that had 17 NL championships and 10 World Series appearances in their history, whereas Howard came on to the losingest team in professional sports history, that had a glimmer of hope way back in the 80′s when the above mentioned Mike Schmidt anchored them en route to a lone World Series win they had waited nearly 100 years to achieve.  Here is Ryan Howard taking them there twice in as many years after his team only won their division once since he was born. 

Therefore, is is my assertion that Howard has made more of an impact on Philadelphia than Pujols did in St Louis.  I also believe Albert will be on the decline by his 35th birthday (look at GriffeyJr and his fast early start) which may actually allow Howard to exceed him in career numbers in some categories by the time all is said and done.    The next 5-7 years will tell us if this is truly the case, but I expect to see Howard’s slugging and OPS go up, while his strikeouts continue to drop.  He already averages more homeruns and RBI per year than Pujols does. 

So while I see merit in exploring the rumored trade, I think it would be in the Phillies best interests to continue to groom Ryan Howard to be the anchor on a team that statistically compares more favorably then any team in Philadelphia history.  The current group of players could easily win 5 or more World Series before the older group starts to decline and retire.  And with a strong farm system and the current emphasis on upgrading the pitching staff at every opportunity, I believe team management and ownership is looking at this big picture as well and will make the right moves rosterwise to give these Phitens a chance at becoming the dynasty we have all been waiting for.

FINAL NOTE:   Pujols is a career .992 fielder and Howard .990, so all the talk about how much better Albert is in the field doesn’t wash with me either.  And Howard is rapidly improving in that arena as well.

Trading Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols

The very nature of the idea is straight out of a video game. Trading one superstar for another? It just doesn’t happen in professional sports.

Yet according to sources the Phillies have kicked around the idea of looking into a deal with St. Louis that would send Ryan Howard to the Cardinals for Albert Pujols in what would be the biggest trade in baseball history. The report, which can be read on includes a denial by Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro who said, “That’s a lie. I don’t know who you’re talking to, but that’s a lie.”

To be clear, this deal would never happen. You could line up all the reasons why it would be feasible — including Pujols’ impending free agency next year and St. Louis being Howard’s hometown — but you would be wasting your time.

These things just don’t happen. But it is fun to talk about.

So would you make the move?

They both are the same age, Howard a couple months older, play the same position and are on the fast track to the Hall of Fame. While Howard has emerged as the greatest power hitter in the game, Pujols is widely regarded as the best player in baseball. Both players have are loved by their hometown fans and neither has been linked to performance enhancing drugs.

There is no right answer with this one as you couldn’t go wrong with either player.

But who would you rather have?

Whiz Kids or the New and Improved Phitens, who is better ?

 From 1976 to 1980 they won 4 NL East titles, 1 National League Pennant and 1 World Series.

 From 2005 to present they have won 3 National League East titles, 2 National league Pennants and 1 World Series.

The first team included the group known as the Whiz Kids, with nearly every member of the team either in the hall of fame, or close to it, and known nationally as household names due to the exposure they recieved during their dominance.  The second team is still playing so does not have the advantage of securing a historical place in our minds and memories as of yet, but may equal or exceed the ability and statistics of the first group of Phillies superstars. 

This article will attempt to compare the two squad’s core group of players, then and now to determine which team is truly the best Phillies team of all time.  It might be noted the first team played just prior to the advent of steroid allegations and performance enhancing drugs becoming the norm, whereas the second group has played and does play in “the steroid era” of baseball with equal or better statistical results, yet has received no substantiated press regarding the use of these illegal and banned substances.  That by itself in this modern era of sports is remarkable, but what this group has acheived in a short period of time may be more so.

The first group-of Phillies included; Michael Jack Schmidt, Pete Rose, Bob Boone, Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, Tim McCarver, Larry Bowa, Garry Maddox and was led by pitchers Steve “Lefty” Carlton, Tug McGraw and Larry Christensen. 

The current group of 21st century Phillies includes; Ryan Howard, Jaysen Werth, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and has had Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, JA Happ and Brad Lidge leading the way from the mound. 

For purposes of a direct comparison, I am not selecting players that only played 2 years or less with either team during the peak, hence the noticable lack of names such as  Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Juan Samuel, Pedro Martinez and the like.

The 1976 to 80 team, over their five seasons averaged  747 runs, 113 Homeruns, 696 RBI’s, 136 stolen bases and a .270 batting average while the pitching staff posted an ERA of under 3.50 for the span.   The two offensive leaders would have to be Rose and Schmidt, with Rose batting .291 with 390 runs and 255 RBI and Michael Jack posting over 200 homeruns, 600 RBI and 600 runs scored over the same 5 year span.

The leaguewide change of focus from defense to offense over the ensuing 30 years is evident when one realizes the Whiz Kids pitching staff ranked 7th league wide with an ERA around 3.00 while the 2008 staff was ranked 4th league wide while the ERA had risen to 3.88.

The offensive numbers of todays Phillies correlate to this change.  The current team is averaging 837 runs scored, 207 home runs, including a team record 224 last year, 706 RBI’s and 120 stolen bases.   Todays squad is led by Ryan Howard, with 220 homeruns, 630 RBI’s, and 460 runs scored over his first 5 full seasons.

The Phillies offensive output has increased by 30-40% while the team ERA has risen by 20% at the same time the league ERA has risen accordingly.   Between the Phillies dominance in the late seventies and early eighties and the current Phillies rise to prominance, the National League East was owned by the Atlanta Braves.  But those Braves dominated by virtue of their excllent pitching staff led by Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.  There has not been a National League team that has ever had the dominant lineup from 1st to 7th position that the current Phillies possess.

Last years Phillies saw 4 players hit 30+ homeruns and drive in 90+ runs, as well as six players score 90+ runs and 8 hit 25 or more doubles.   They also had 4 players steal 20 or more bases.  This is the most balanced team to play in the National League in 50 years.  The Whiz Kids were famous simply because the perennial basement dwelling Phillies went to and won the World Series.   The current club should be afforded more respect because they are a better rounded and higher achieving team, and I for one, can not wait for them to close out the National League for 2010 so they can return to the World Series and go 2 for 3 as they take the championship away from the hated NY Yankees and return it to it’s rightful place, in Philadelphia.  This is a team that could easily win 3 or 4 of the next 5 World Series and establish itself in history as a baseball dynasty.

Based on these numbers, I would have to state, the current Phillies ballclub is the best statistical team ever to play baseball in Philadelphia, and I have a feeling the best is yet to come.