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Front Row 144


July 12, 2010 2:06 PM

The Front Row 144 All Star Break Phillies First Half Review.

The All Star Break is here, and as a fan, I am somewhat aggravated.  Not over the way our local nine has played the first half of the 2010 season, but because of the way the media and some fans are reacting.

You see, I know and appreciate that the Phillies are the two time defending National League Champions.  And I know and appreciate how hard it is to repeat as champions.

As a matter of historical fact, since 1969 (the Championship Series era), only five National League teams have repeated as champions.  During that same time period, not one team has won three pennants in a row.  That's right.  Zero.  Nada.  Zip.

I get all of this, I really do.  I get how hard it is to repeat.
I dig this team, their grit, their swagger, and their commitment to excellence.

The reason I am somewhat aggravated is not because the Phillies' record this year isn't as good as it has been the past two championship seasons. In 2008 the team's record was 52-44 and in 2009 it was 48-38.  This year's record at the All-Star Break is 47-40.

To me, this is quite the accomplish considering the games they've lost due to injuries, including major time lost from their All-Star second baseman (Utley), their reigning Gold Glove shortstop (Rollins), their stud, professional third baseman (Polanco), and their steady as taxes catcher (Ruiz).

Add in the time lost by their Rookie of the Year runner up starting pitcher  (Happ), steady mid reliever (Madson), and closer (Lidge), and it is simply stunning that the Phillies are still in yelling distance of the over achieving Atlanta Braves and This It Isn't September New York Mets.

I mean really, given these injuries, how can any fan be upset at all.
I admit I'm aggravated, but I am not upset.
I don't post hateful, angry comments on any baseball or sports website about Ruben or his decisions.  I don't write columns for local papers saying how stupid it was not to try to have both Lee and Halladay at the top of the rotation.

No, I continue to support the team that is the two time defending NL champion, the team that won a world championship two years ago and has just completed a 5-2 homestand to pull within four in the loss column of the Braves because I am a true fan.  It helps also that I reasonably analyze the facts and statistics and understand why our local nine is in third place.

Fundamentally, the reason the Phillies are in third place is just a simple matter of numbers.
If one steps back with an open mind and reviews the facts before us, the analysis lessens the aggravation.

Consider that the Phillies have 34 losses where they have scored three or less runs.
The actual breakdown is:

        Games     Runs Scored    OruA
            12                     3               3
              4                     2               2
              9                     1               6
              9                     0               4

Note:  OruA is the number off times that the Opponent has scored under the league average for those games listed.


Even though the Phillies average more runs per game than the National League average (Phils average 4.71/gm, NL teams average 4.39/gm), they have lost 18 games where they scored one run or less.

That league leading offense that was as dependable the last two years as political lies is abjectly underachieving.  It is that simple.

If, (and remember, baseball and its statistics lend itself to the what if scenario much better than any other sport), if the Phillies scored the league average in half the of the games listed above, they would have fifteen more wins, lead the division, and easily have the best record in baseball.

If they scored the league average in a quarter of these games, and remember, the league average is less than what the Phillies average per game, they would have eight more wins and be leading the division.

It is that simple.  Injuries have decimated the offense that has dominated the league the last two years.
Period.

The starting pitching is doing their job; the bullpen is doing their job, with the exception of Howard, Polanco, Ruiz, and Werth in April, the offense is a shell of what it was last year.
If the team can amp up their offense in the second half, they will be fine.  If not, it will continue to be a struggle and I will continue to be a fan.
Peace out and stay positive.  The offense most likely will come around.

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