December 1, 2021

SHL National Originals: Phillies Keep Phinding Ways To Win

February 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

With more than 90% of the season remaining, the season is a long way from over.  However, if April is any indication, the Philadelphia Phillies are going to be a force to be reckoned with. 

At 13-2, the Phillies hold the league’s best record and sit on top of the National Originals Division by four games.  Through 15 games, the club leads the Historical League in runs scored, extra-base hits, stolen bases and is fourth in team ERA.  They opened the season 6-0 before dropping two straight, only to bounce back and win seven straight on the road.  Not only has the team’s lineup and rotation produced, the fightin’ Phils have shown resiliency trailing at one point in seven of their 13 victories.

Third baseman Mike Schmidt was the SHL Player of the Week last week going 10-for-19 with two home runs and nine RBI in six games.  Schmidt also hit for the cycle on April 15th in a 12-7 victory over the Mariners.  The club has also received stellar pitching from Pete Alexander (4-0, 2.65 ERA) and Steve Carlton (3-0, 4.02 ERA) and closer Brad Lidge is perfect in five save opportunities.  Although Lidge was rocked in mop-up duty and owns an inflated 4.77 ERA, he has not allowed an earned run while notching five saves.

There are still some concerns for the Phillies.  Starting catcher Bob Boone is hitting just .222 and backup Darren Daulton is 0-for-7 with no help on the horizon in Scranton and the team desperately needs their starting rotation to stay healthy with only bullpen member John Denny possessing starting quality endurance and no Major League ready starting arms on the farm.

Despite those concerns, the Phillies are in prime position to stretch their division lead with 11 straight home games starting with a three-game set against the Braves on April 22. 

Braves Bullpen Blunders: The Braves (7-8) had natural bullpen options to choose from for their Opening Day roster.  Of the four, only Gene Garber was chosen for the bullpen while John Smoltz nabbed a spot in the rotation and Rick Camp and Rick Mahler were sent down to Richmond.  So far, the decision has proven costly with the Braves’ bullpen posting a 5.40 ERA and a 1-4 record.  Meanwhile, down in Richmond, Mahler has posted a 2-0 record with two saves and a 1.74 ERA in seven games and Camp owns a 0.60 ERA with a win and a save in eight games.  Now, the team’s shaky ‘pen must face a Phillies team that has thrived in the late innings.

Cubs Clamp Down:  In Chicago, the Cubs (9-6) have not experienced bullpen issues.  The club owns the best bullpen ERA in the SHL at 1.29 to go with a starting rotation that owns the fourth best ERA in the SHL at 2.96.  Closer Bruce Sutter was responsible for the bullpen’s only gaffe when he surrendered two runs in their 5-4 extra inning win over the Mets on April 14.  In his second inning of work, Sutter nearly coughed up the three-run lead in the bottom of the 10th before shutting down the Mets to collect the win.  Despite their excellent pitching, the Cubbies have been inconsistent at the plate and after Ernie Banks (.340), Cap Anson (.328) and Billy Williams (.316), no one on the club is hitting over .260.

A Giant Mess:  The Giants (7-8) were the early pick by some (including this writer) to win the National Originals Division.  However, after two weeks of play, they are tied with the Braves at the bottom of the division.  One of the early concerns for the Giants has to be Gaylord Perry.  Perry struggled in his first start of the season on April 11 when he could not make it through the fifth in an 8-5 loss to the Rangers.  In his next start things got worse for Perry against the Padres when he failed to get through the second inning.  After two starts, Perry is 0-2 with a 17.05 ERA.  The rotation for this week has not been revealed but with Amos Rusie and Joe McGinnity both pitching well out of the bullpen and Mickey Welch (2-0, 1.74 ERA) showing his stuff in Fresno, Perry’s days in the rotation could be numbered.

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