Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phillies still struggling after unimpressive month of May

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Baseball never ends. Each month, we'll be giving you the Phillies' CliffNotes.

Overall record: 24-29

May record: 11-16

May started with a series win over the Nationals, the momentum of which was destroyed by that brutal four game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays, in which the Phillies were outscored 31-11. They appeared to be recovering against the Mets, and came within one inning of a sweep of their own, until Antonio Bastardo, Roberto Hernandez, and Jeff Manship were unable to handle the bottom of the ninth inning. Things failed to improve when they scored three runs in 18 innings in a bang-bang two-gamer with the Angels.

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  • A brief scoring outburst - 20 runs over three games - spurred a series win against Cincinnati, folllowed of course by two series losses to the Marlins and Dodgers.

    The miraculous walk-off win against the Rockies capped off an unexpected victory, which evaporated in a listless 4-1 loss to the Mets to start off a weird five-game series. This was followed by a pair of 14-inning excursions, with each team winning one, and making it 28 innings of baseball that didn't move anybody anywhere.

    May MVP: Jimmy Rollins (Last month: Chase Utley)

    There is no reason for Rollins not to be in the top five for NL shortstop All-Star votes. You should all honestly be ashamed. ("What if Jimmy doesn't run out a pop-up on national TV? What if it costs the NL home field advantage in the World Series? What if my child is watching and refuses to run out pop-outs for the rest of his life? Baseball is America and the children are our future so Jimmy Rollins is destroying the future of America!!!")

    Troy Tulowitzki, despite probably deserving to, cannot take up all five of the top NL shortstop spots in All-Star voting. Jimmy, with the second best WAR, wOBA, OPS, and walk rate among NL shortstops, may not come in exactly at #2 to Tulo, but deserves to be in the top five, especially when you throw in his fourth-best defensive WAR (5.8 - beating out the likes of Andrelton Simmons, Hanley Ramirez, Ian Desmond, and Jean Segura).

    Best players:

    Chase Utley - .295/.353/.486 in 116 PA

    Carlos Ruiz - .260/.382/.315 in 89 PA

    Cody Asche - .317/.406/.550 in 69 PA

    May pitching MVP: Mike Adams (Last month: Cliff Lee)

    In 12.1 innings, Adams, formerly a shaky option teetering out of the bullpen, maintained a 2.19 ERA this month, and fed his very healthy 54.8% ground ball rate for the year. Against the Rockies, he cleaned up Antonio Bastardo's mess on the way to a 6-3 Phillies win, striking out the league's most unbelievable hitter to do so. 

    Best pitchers:

    Cole Hamels - Hamels' K/9 rate shot up from 6.75 to 9.5 from April to May. Nine walks and 14 earned runs in 34 innings isn't the elite talent hoped for, but it's some of the best pitching the Phillies have right now.

    Cliff Lee - Give him enough innings, and he'll give you an insane K/BB rate. 21 K's and five walks in 27 innings this month is better than most other hurlers on this staff, as well as many other staffs.

    Jonathan Papelbon - Since April 2, Papelbon has stirred some minor clubhouse dramam, but also allowed a single earned run in 20 innings.

    Biggest disappointment:

    Domonic Brown - Brown continues to not get going, now a year removed from the biggest month of his career. Remember headlines like this:

    "Domonic Brown is Your New Favorite Slugger"

    "Domonic Brown is the Greatest Slugger Ever"

    "Is Ryan Howard Passing the Torch to Domonic Brown?"

    "Domonic Brown a Key Player in Phillies' Rebuilding Stage"

    Brown's May 2014 stat line: .143/.191/.310

    Not pictured:

    Cliff Lee (15-day DL) - Discomfort in the left elbow is so in right now.

    Cody Asche (15-day DL) - A shame about the kid's left hamstring injury that brought his hottest streak yet to a grinding halt. 

    Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (60-day DL) - They diagnosed this guy with "dead arm." Seriously. 

    Jeff Manship: In the last game of the month, on a play that could have won the game, Manship strained his right quad running out a grounder. He was one step from achieving folk hero status after retiring 12 hitters straight in relief. Poor, poor Jeff.

    League leaders:

    The Phillies currently have two literal league leaders: Chase Utley with doubles, and Ryan Howard with strikeouts.

    Chase Utley: .320 BA (6th in NL), 22 2B (T-1st), 

    Ben Revere: 15 SB (4th)

    Cliff Lee: 6.78 SO/BB (3rd), 1.19 BB/9 (5th lowest)

    Ryan Howard: 65 strikeouts (1st)

    Roberto Hernandez: 4.61 BB/9 (2nd highest)

    A.J. Burnett: 4.52 BB/9 (3rd highest)

    Best moment

    5/28: Ben Revere Stomps Home Winning Run vs. Rockies

    [Crashburn Alley]

    Worst moment:

    Phillies Get in Edwin Encarnacion's Way

    Justin Klugh Philly.com
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