Finishing Half on a High Note

Pat Burrell should be at the All-Star Game. But at least Kosuke Fukudome is going. He's totally worthy.

Pat Burrell didn't try to send a message with his three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning yesterday in a 6-3 victory over the Diamondbacks.

It sure would be more fun if he did.

Burrell has the numbers to be at the All-Star Game tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium. Most people know by now that on-base-plus-slugging percentage is a great indicator of a player's overall production. Burrell's OPS is .975, which ranks second amongst NL outfielders. Here are the NL all-star outfielders and where they rank compared to the 33 NL outfielders that qualify for the statistic:

1. Matt Holliday (.981)
3. Ryan Ludwick (.955)
6. Nate McLouth (.907)
10. Ryan Braun (.882)
12. Corey Hart (.831)
18. Kosuke Fukudome (.793)

Alfonso Soriano (.879) doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify, but would rank 11th in the league if he did. It's quite clear that Fukudome, who fans voted in, shouldn't even be sniffing the All-Star Game. But Cubs fans are more zealous than Phillies fans, so Fukudome goes and Burrell goes home.


Phil Sheridan tells us that while the offense is good enough and the bullpen is good enough, it's quite clear the Phillies must add another starter to remain in first place and return to the postseason.


In the Phillies Notebook, the Phillies are in first place at the break for the 10th time in franchise history. Here are those years, and where they ultimately finished:

1950: First (Yankees swept them in World Series, 4-0)
1964: Second (suffered worst collapse in baseball history)
1974: Third
1976: First (Reds swept them in NLCS, 3-0)
1978: First (Dodgers beat them in NLCS, 3-1)
1982: Second
1993: First (Blue Jays beat them in World Series, 4-2)
2001: Second
2004: Second (Larry Bowa fired after season)
2008: ??????


It's all-star week ... in New York.

Let the madness begin.