Cliff Lee was expected to have a great year at the start of the season. The hopes were high, especially after the big free-agency dealings.
Lee started out slow, however. In April he was 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA. In May he began to progress for the better, but still was 2-3 with a 3.78 ERA. Since then, he is 4-0 with an 0.27 ERA.
Last night, Lee pitched a gem. Nine innings, no runs, six hits. Lee is obviously cruising through June. The question is, what about everyone else?
Ryan Howard. The great Philadelphia Slugger who is already signed through 2015. for $25 million per year. 16 HR, 60 RBI's this year. Enough said.
Placido Polanco has a .292 batting average. He is doing good, but is a little less consistent than last year. In the last week he is 2-for-18, and has a .203 BA this month. Ever since that pitch that hit him in the elbow last year, he really hasn't been himself.
Two days ago he got hit with a pitch in the pinkie. I've just got one thing to say, back away from the plate, man.
After being out for the first month and a half of the season, Chase Utley hasn't really been his old self either. He is hitting .265 on the year, and has posted a .282 batting average in June. He's doing pretty good recently, and I bet in a few weeks he'll be back on top of the batting average list. After all, he is "The Man."
Shane Victorino has lived up to the expectations, if not gone beyond them. This year his batting average is .296. He has a .321 batting average in June, and a .360 batting average in the last week. Keep flyin', Mister Hawaiin.
Jimmy Rollins hasn't really had such a good year. He is batting .261 with 7 HR and 31 runs batted in. In the last week, however, he has hit over .300, a good sign. Keep rolling, J-Roll.
Carlos Ruiz had one of his best seasons last year. He was a great clutch hitter, getting hits when the team needed him. This year, however, he hasn't been doing as good as expected. He has a .257 BA, a .369 OBP, 2 HR, and 14 RBI. He is batting .254 for June, but is at .300 for the past week. Perhaps he's starting to get hot.
Raul Ibanez hasn't been doing so good this year, but no one really expected anything great from him. He is getting older and probably won't be a Philly for much longer. This year he is batting .240 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI. In June he is batting .221.
That doesn't look so good, but what else do you expect from someone like Raul? Maybe he'll get hot soon. He has always been an up and down player.
Ben Francisco, another right fielder, isn't doing much better. He has a .218 batting average with 6 homers and 26 runs batted in. He's been doing a little better in the last week, but he still has a lot of room for improvement.
Domonic Brown: .206 BA. 4 HR. 11 RBI. Dominating Domonic. Come on, man. You can do better than that...
Last, but definitely not least, comes the great foursome. R2C2. Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
As I said before, Lee is cruising this month. Roy Halladay is 9-3 with a 2.51 ERA and 119 strikeouts. Roy Oswalt is 4-5 with a 3.38 ERA, perhaps the only one of the four aces not doing as good as expected. Cole Hamels is 9-3 with a 2.51 ERA and 103 SO. The four aces are doing as good as expected, or maybe even better, besides the possibility of Oswalt.
My overall conclusion is that the Phillies' players are mostly meeting the expectations, offensively and defensively. They're winning games, so why is Charlie Manuel frustrated?
The lack of offense is the answer, but the Phillies aren't losing many games because of their offense—their great pitching makes up for it. If only I had Charlie's address...