By ZAC HARRIS
It might be early to be calling the world champions of 2008 a bust, but the first few games do not bear pleasant forebodings for the rest of the season.
The Phillies 2009 season has gotten off to a rocky start. The Phillies do not have one starting pitcher with an ERA under 5.00, and the lowest ERA belongs to two-faced pitcher Brett Myers, who was sent down to the minor leagues last season. Myers was a key catalyst to the Phillies making the playoffs. He boasted eight wins and an impressive recovery ERA in the second half of the season. Myers, who lost twenty pounds in the off-season, needs to be a catalyst once again for the Phillies.
Pitchers Joe Blanton, who was a new addition to the Phils last season, and the 46-year-old Jamie Moyer haven’t had promising starts either. Similarly, last years MVP Cole Hamels has not been up to standard. Hamels has just two starts, no wins, one loss, and has given up 12 runs, leaving him with an ERA of 11.17.
Altogether the bullpen has given up 74 runs. This is really disappointing, considering how strong their pitching was last year.
The good news is that in the twenty-nine games played, the Phillies have not experienced problems scoring runs. The team currently has a combined 15 home runs as well as 59 additional runs batted in.
Newcomer Raul Ibanez has earned a warm welcome from teammates, leading the Phillies in hitting with five home runs, and a batting average of .400. Chase Utley’s hip surgery also has given him an advantage on the field. Chase Utley is currently hitting a .366 batting average with four home runs.
The Phillies have been known for starting out the season poorly in April. However we are only twenty-nine games in, with 133 left. The Phillies pitching staff has plenty of time to get it together and make another run for the playoffs. The question is, will they?