What an amazing (-ly short) week. The Phils opened up the 2nd half of the season with a 3 game sweep of the Miami Marlins to well, do absolutely nothing for them in the standings. When you are 10 games back in your division at the break, you’re in trouble. When you are 10 games back of the team in 4th place ahead of you, you are the Phillies. But hey, now they are only 9 back of the Fish.
The Phils were able to put up 17 runs in the 3 game set but that doesn’t mean it was pretty. On Friday, they scored 4 of their 6 runs in the 8th inning. On Saturday, they got all 3 runs in the first two innings before being shut down for the last 6. Finally on Sunday, they scored 5 in the 2nd and needed one in the 7th and 2 on a Jeff Francoeur walk off in the 9th to finish things off. Congrats are in order for Ryan Howard on hitting his 350th HR on Sunday, though. A milestone for sure but many thought he’d be nearing 400, at least by this point.
Apparently, Cole Hamels really wants to stay in Philly. Hamels has pitched just 6.1 innings in his last two outings and given up 14 runs in that span. Then, after Jonathan Papelbon shot off his mouth at the All-Star game, he proceeded to give up a HR in his first game back (a non-save situation). Chad Billingsley, had a good outing on Saturday pitching 5 scoreless innings but left with elbow soreness and could potentially find his way back to the DL. The bullpen, in all, pitched 12.2 innings giving up 4 runs and getting 2 wins. The bullpen will need to remain steady in the 2nd half as they are very likely to get a lot of work.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– The Nats beat the Dodgers to open the 2nd half before being shut down by Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke. They will take on the Mets before going into Pittsburgh. Both series will highlight some pretty good pitching so things could go any number of directions for the Nats.
Mets– The Mets lost the first 2 in the series to the Cards before outlasting them in 18 innings on Sunday. All in all, the Mets kept pace with the Nats heading into a big series this week. They will need to win at least 2 of 3 to try and stay on pace especially with the Dodgers coming into NY for 4 games after they finish with Washington.
Braves– Much like the Mets and Nats, the Braves also dropped 2 of 3. Also like the others, they will face off with the Dodgers to start off the week before a 3 game set with the Cardinals. At 6 1/2 out, the Braves still have a chance but this week could finally bury them if things do go their way.
Marlins– The Fish were swept by the Phillies which at this point in the season is nothing more than insult added to injury before having to fly out to the west coast for 7 games. At least it’s only the Diamondbacks and Padres though. I guess they have that going for them.
The Phils will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to town before heading into Chicago. If there is such a thing as a favorable matchup for the Phils, I wouldn’t say either of these applies. Starting Wednesday, they will play 4 straight day games. That bodes well for the pitchers as they have put up better numbers thus far during day games. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the bats. The higlight (we hope) for this week will be the premier of Aaron Nola with the big club. A good start will potentially show another sign of hope for the future.