At 11-14, the 2013 season did not start the way Phillies fans anticipated. After tremendous off season acquisitions for the Braves, and the young up and coming stars on the Nationals, taking the division was already going to be a challenge. But to be under .500 and also behind the Mets, the Phillies start has been unsatisfactory.
One of the Phillies biggest question marks heading into the season was how ace Roy Halladay was going to bounce back from a horrific preseason. After his first two starts, there were even more worries after beginning 0-2 with an ERA of 14.73. After these two dreadful starts, doubts seem to be dwindling away after he went 2-0 in his past 3 starts with an astonishing ERA of 1.71.
Another question mark was seeing how second baseman Chase Utley was going to start after his plague of injuries the past few seasons. Utley’s knees seem to be better than ever as he has had his best start in years. With a .300 batting average, 4 homers, and 17 RBI’s, Utleys injury’s seem to be the least of the Phillies worries.
With the Phillies two biggest question marks seeming to be no problem, then the question remains. Why have the Phillies had such a subpar start? It seems that just like last year, consistent hitting seems to be the most glaring issue for this ball club. Even with last season’s hitting struggles, there team average has dropped from last year’s .255. As a team the Phillies are hitting just .248 with only 17 homeruns.
Domonic Brown had not yet lived up to his expectations, but things seemed to be heading in the right direction after an outstanding preseason. But Brown seems to be right back to his old underachieving self after starting the year batting .241.
Off season acquisition Ben Revere has been outstanding in the field, but can’t seem to do anything right at the plate. Hitting a humiliating .207, Revere had to be moved from the lead-off spot and is making it difficult for manager Charlie Manuel to even put him in the lineup.
One acquisition that seems to be paying off is third baseman Michael Young. Hitting a team best .353, Young has been exceeding all expectations hitting in the five- hole for the Phillies.
The “Big Piece” Ryan Howard, although not his old self, could definitely be worse. He is hitting a solid .281, but it is his lack of power that the Phillies are missing. Batting in the clean-up spot Howard has just 3 home runs on the year. Luckily two of his three homers have been in the past four games showing that hopefully the power is coming back.
On the bright side, the Phillies most consistent hitter last year, catcher Carlos Ruiz, is returning from his 25 game suspensions. With Ruiz’s bat back in the lineup, this could be just what the Phillies need to turn the corner.
When all said and done, this start has not been what Phillies fans wanted, but it could be worse. They are coming off two big wins vs. the New York Mets including an outstanding complete game shutout from starter Kyle Kendrick. It is a long season with 137 games still remaining. If the Phillies can find more consistent hitting, there is no reason to count this team out of making a serious post season run.
Brian Fiocco is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at BF719935@wcupa.edu.