I know it’s early, but at the end of Saturday’s game…
The Mets are 6-2. The Phillies are 3-5.
The Phillies have scored 2 or fewer runs in 5 of their 8, games, going 1-4 in those games.
Rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis, who hits 8th, leads the team with 5 RBI, coming on 3 extra-base hits (he’s tied for the team lead in that category).
Will things turn around? Probably.
Cliff Lee has only given up 7 hits in 13 innings – but those hits were bunched up and turned into 5 runs. Add a lack of run support, and Lee is thus far winless.
Cole Hamels struck out 9 in 5+ innings in the home opener, but ended up getting knocked around a bit by the Marlins.
Jimmy Rollins has 11 hits – but only one for extra bases. He has mostly batted third, but has only one RBI on the season (and only 2 runs scored).
These statistical anomalies should even themselves out – but it sure would help if the Phillies could hit the ball more consistently and with more authority.
Roster move coming: Jose Contreras, after completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery almost exactly a year ago, is likely to come off the DL Monday and join the team on its west-coast flight Sunday. Most likely to miss the flight and drive up the Northeast Extension instead is David Herndon. Contreras’ return will likely also move Kyle Kendrick out of the late innings and back into the long relief role he is more accustomed to.
Sacrifice baserunning? A bizarre play from Friday’s Mets 5-2 win over the Phillies. Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey successfully sacrifice bunted catcher Josh Thole to second base. Or so it appeared. For whatever reason, Thole reach second and then turned and jogged back to first. It’s clear that Jimmy Rollins held up his hands, which Thole claims was a courtesy signal for him not to have to slide. But Thole acted as if Rollins’ signal was a foul ball, despite Thole insisting that he knew the bunt stayed fair. In any event, after recording the out on Dickey at first, Jim Thome returned the ball to Cliff Lee, who threw to Rollins, who relayed to Galvis for the inning-ending 3-1-6-4 double play.
Utley, Howard making progress: On Wednesday, Ruben Amaro gave updates on the health status of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. On Howard, who checked in with his doctor in Baltimore Tuesday, the surgical wound in the back of his heel has “not all the way healed.” Utley, meanwhile, is doing is knee exercises under supervision in Arizona.
As PhillyPhanatics.com’s Eric Fisher has pointed out, the Phillies can’t wait forever on Howard and Utley – not only do they need wins every bit as much now as they will later in the season, they also don’t know what type of production they will get if/when each return to the lineup. Amaro echoed that sentiment in a different way: “Our goal is try to get both of these guys to the point where they’re on [minor league] rehab [assignments] and playing, so we can assess what we’re going to get out of them. Until that happens, we won’t know what kind of players they’ll be until they’re out here playing.”
Phillies re-sign Burrell: Yes, Pat Burrell will retire a Phillie. Unlike Jim Thome, Burrell will not actually play for the Phillies in 2012 – his last game as a major leaguer was in the uniform of the San Francisco Giants on September 28 – where he was given a “VUK” memorial patch to keep in his pocket by Giants coach Tim Flannery. Burrell is scheduled to throw out the first ball against the Red Sox on May 19, then sign a one-day contract to be a Phillie for a day on May 20.
(Drop)kicking around Papelbon’s entrance music: On Monday, it was Alice in Chains. On Wednesday, it was Marilyn Manson. It won’t be “Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys, as it was for him in Boston – that much we know. It’s still an open question whether there will be a different song each game for Jonathan Papelbon – which Papelbon has hinted will be the case.
If that truly is the case, the Phillies could raise some money for charity by getting fans involved in picking the songs and introducing them on the video screen. Just a thought.
Looking ahead: The Phillies try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Mets Sunday, with Cole Hamels – who tends to struggle against the Mets – looking for redemption after dropping Monday’s home opener to the Marlins. Hamels will be opposed by Mike Pelfrey. After that, it’s a 10-game West Coast road trip – their longest of the season – at San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona. The Phillies figure to see some quality pitching on that trip – arguably better than the pitching they have faced so far. A winning road trip could get the Phils over .500.