When Jimmy Rollins and the Philadelphia Phillies were the hunters before their dominant era, they established themselves with that September run past our northern foe. This season, however, they began for the first time since then as the challenger.
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.
Check out: Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Answers
(Sign Language) After Michael Young scored the go-ahead run for the Philadelphia Phillies, another development raised eyebrows. Analysts could not explain why a ball rattling around in the right-field corner was only a single.
The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 2-3 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.
Post time is mostly 5 to 9 pm for the days listed below.
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The Deceiving Standings:
On April 16, Atlanta was 11 games over .500 and they are currently at 33-22.
The disappointment in Philly is misplaced by the standings at face value alone, because it creates the illusion that the Braves are far superior. They are a streaky team that has followed their 12-1 start by going 11-17, 7-0 and 3-4. Meanwhile, the Nationals went 7-2 and 3-9 before posting a more recent 18-17 mark. There are 106 battles remaining on the schedule, and the division does not appear to be a settled issue.
Atlanta has a feast-or-famine offense that barrels up a lot of homeruns or strikes out. Entering the campaign, Andrelton Simmons (.249) was the leadoff hitter in front of Jason Heyward (.142), Justin Upton (.249), B.J. Upton (.153) and Dan Uggla (.180). Their manager, Fredi Gonzalez, has hinted about sending B.J. to Triple-A Gwinnett for a mechanical remedy, but that will not be a popular suggestion. That stated, the Braves are on the hook for $75 million over 5 years, and this is only the first summer.
The pitching in Georgia is also suspect with Tim Hudson and his 4.80 ERA fronting the rotation. He leads Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran, which is not a daunting 5-man staff. Their bullpen until June of 2014 is without those 2 menacing southpaws: Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty. Plus, if they hand the ball to Craig Kimbrel, he is not automatic like 2012 but is still dominant.
Before and After:
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Washington has a target on its back after a 98-win tour, which comes with the weight of powerful expectations. They were loose from day one of 2012 and faced no serious threats until the postseason. That said, any club will struggle under the overwhelming prediction to be the favorite in the Fall Classic. And this year, they are scuffling to repeat another stellar 162.
Jayson Werth has missed more contests than he’s played in, and Bryce Harper has discovered a few speed bumps on the road to Cooperstown. The league is more familiar with Gio Gonzalez, and Stephen Strasburg is a DL candidate after his mild lat sprain on Friday night. The Nationals have no lefty in the ‘pen, which will come back to haunt them. Sean Burnett (Angels), Mike Gonzalez (Brewers) and Tom Gorzelanny (Brewers) signed elsewhere.
The red pinstripes don’t have to record 100 victories for another NL East pennant.
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This is the 39th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Sign Language) 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 Early Returns).
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: Answers (Sign Language)
Philadelphia Phillies story-poll: Suds or studs, trades and decisions (The Early Returns)
Tal Venada (Author Archives)