Back within the friendly confines, rooters will serenade Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday with his chanted nickname. Delmon Young, on the other hand, made his debut at the Bank Thursday night.
By design my articles represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the organization’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: These posts involve commentary, polls and stats for the upcoming 7 days.
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While Ruiz enjoys the appreciation of the faithful, Young will survey the park’s dimensions for his first homerun in Philly.
A month into the campaign is an excellent time to assess the value of the on-the-diamond crew. Rube Amaro, on the the hand, allows until June to reach his first conclusion. This will not only reveal the strength of his squad, but also provide a month that includes Young and Ruiz. The first 25 battles did not contain a right-side threat after Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
While Young supplies a power bat behind Howard, Ruiz protects Dom Brown by following him in the order. This also lengthens the lineup from holes 1 through 7. Brown will most likely remain in the 6 slot for at least 2-3 weeks, because he’s averaging .387 over the last 8 games, which includes his 3 hits on Thursday night. On the other hand, because of his defensive wizardry, Ben Revere will be a regular until May 31.
Both players will shine after they log a week at this level, which is like a starter’s first frame to get acclimated.
Kyle Kendrick lives in the comfort zone behind the 3 aces, and Jonathan Pettibone has the advantage of being a relative unknown. On the other end, Cole Hamels has generated a 2.33 ERA for his last 4 performances after 2 season-opening clunkers. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are results-wise the same stud. The difference is that Lee either has streaks of dominance or consecutive rough outings, which is precision-related.
NOTE for next photo: Lee throws mostly cutters, 2-seam fastballs and curveballs, which means he has the ball ready to grip for his next pitch. The trick is that he has no problem tossing an occasional 4-seam fastball or changeup during the contest.
Like Lee, the overall numbers will be about the same for Halladay, except that he’ll have 3 unpleasant showings every 2 months. However, Tuesday’s loss had an additional ingredient that made it worse than it had to be. Ruiz discovered that Halladay’s cutter is no longer a major weapon, which is now in the past with Brad Lidge’s heater. Approximately twice as many cut fastballs produced disastrous consequences, and it is doubtful that Ruiz will repeat that mistake.
Middle relief is usually the weakest spot on the 12-man staff, but that is not a major problem for the most part. However, when the opposition has a big lead, they relax with maximum confidence in the batter’s box, and pad their stats against so-so pitchers. The best arms are in the rotation and the top relievers are at the back of the bullpen. A manager has to save his most reliable dart throwers for late difference-making opportunities: They are Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo.
Considering the biggest need is more offensive, the run production will increase with improved left-right balance in the order and six or seven dangerous hitters instead of four.
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This is the 31th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (The Brightest Stars) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Story-poll. The last one was The Hot Corner.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The core plus one more (The Brightest Stars)
Philadelphia Phillies story-poll: Suds or studs, the youngster (The Hot Corner)
Tal Venada (Author Archives)