O.D. to 7/24: 43-58 (.426)
7/24 to 9/5: 22-17 (.564)
Nice rebound and all those wins are the result of playing fundamental baseball! An 81-81 record won't happen given that the Phils are facing playoff-bound opponents the rest of the year (22 games left). Not sure they can win more than 14 of those, but anything more than 8 wins gives them a better record than last year: glass half-full. As stated in previous entries, the pitching has improved greatly over the course of the year, which I'll talk about in terms of 2015 later. But today, I'll break down the position players in defensive order (2-9). Here is what the front office & Sandberg need to consider next year to have more/ continued (?) success:
- Rotation & 'Pen: Expect a pitching entry later this month.
- Catchers: Expect Ruiz to be the primary catcher and relieved as normal (day game before/ after night game/ extra innings, etc.). I expect & hope Rupp is our back-up, so look for more caught stealings while all other categories, especially rapport w/ pitching staff, remain sound & steady.
- First Base: Expect Howard & Ruf to split time here, then factor in Franco. Howard needs to rest more (3 days off per week) and start hitting 5th or 6th in the order, especially in the first half.
- Second Base: Chase, over the past two years, has certainly proven he can remain healthy and be productive, however, Sandberg must rest him more often. A day off per week with Galvis, Hernandez, and even Asche as back-ups will guarantee Chase a .300 avg for the season.
- Third Base: Asche is still in development and Franco had a slow start in AAA last year, so giving these players a half-year of 500-PA-pace play will benefit the organization greatly. Franco is the better player overall, but I see .280 AVG with sound 3B defense in Asche in future years. And yes, do put Asche in at 2B & LF in Spring Training b/c Franco will be a Phillie sometime in 2015.
- Shortstop: Rollins has certainly bounced back by hitting more line drives vs. pop-ups and can still flash the leather. Rest him once or twice per week, too, so he can be most productive.
- Left Field: I think a platoon between Brown & Ruf with cameos by Revere & Asche is the best course here. I think Brown will bounce back: he knows what to do to hit more. With Ruf splitting time at 1B and Brown no longer an everyday option, keeping Grady Sizemore may be a good option, especially for the 1st half of the season.
- Center Field: The NL batting title for Revere with screws in his ankle? That's gettin' it done! However, I don't think Revere is an everyday player, especially in CF (bad routes, weakish arm). Moving Byrd here and Revere to a corner spot is probably the best course for the team.
- Right Field: Kudos to RAJ for signing Byrd as he certainly stabilized a least one OF position compared to last year, albeit overvalued by 1-3 million bucks. I think the OF is set, but trades may complicate matters. However, all the OFs can play more than one OF position (something to try in S.T.), so there's some flexibility. I'd say keep Sizemore as a means to an end: player development.
Today: 4 PM game... Phils at Nats on CSN.