Some bullets to keep us going through the remaining 54 hours or so until Phillies baseball resumes:
Shane Victorino got off to a terrible start in 2008, hitting .234/.294/.277 through his first 12 games before heading to the disabled list in mid-April. Since coming back on April 29, he’s put up a .287/.360/.430 line in 304 plate appearances, with the best walk rate of his career and 21 steals in 26 attempts. And though the small sample size warning certainly applies here, Victorino has had some of his best success batting seventh: he’s .333/.391/476 in 23 plate appearances. Given the general lack of production in the lower third of the Phillies lineup, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Victorino down there more over the last two and a half months.
- For the most part, observers have perceived Jimmy Rollins’ 2008 season as mildly disappointing, and his numbers certainly are down compared to the MVP campaign he put up a year ago. But better days might be coming: in 60 July plate appearances, Rollins has posted a .321/.400/.472 line, and his overall .274/.340/.438 line is a bit ahead of his career first-half averages: .269/.321/.421. For his career, Rollins has hit .288/.346/.468 after the all-star break. Maybe more to the point is that, as MattS pointed out earlier this week, Rollins has fared worse on balls in play this year even as he’s put up better walk, strikeout, and line drive rates. If a correction is forthcoming, the gains could be huge: the Daily News noted earlier this week that the Phils are 21-7 this year in games when Rollins has scored, 67-34 last season, and 400-194 for his career.
- As noted elsewhere by TGP’s own JonK, Pat Burrell is now the active player with the highest OPS never to appear in an all-star game.
- When Home Run Derby winner Justin Morneau singled off Brad Lidge to start the 15th inning in last night’s all-star game, he became the sixth straight leadoff hitter Lidge had faced to reach base, dating back to the Phils’ July 6 loss in 12 innings to the Mets. More worrisome is that Lidge was warming up repeatedly over two hours in the game, “six or seven times” by his own account. And you thought Clint Hurdle was done screwing the Phillies after leaving Burrell, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard off the all-star roster…
- Brett Myers will make one more minor-league start, and then will rejoin the Phillies for a July 23rd start at Shea Stadium against the Mets. In three minor-league starts thus far, Myers is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings, allowing 17 hits (one home run) and six walks while striking out 22. Not only will the start be consequential for the division race and the Phils’ sense of what they can expect from their Opening Day starter going forward; a great start from Myers eight days before the non-waiver trade deadline would render the Phils that much less desperate to swing a trade for another starter. Another disaster, though, likely would fortify potential trade partners’ demands for the likes of Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson. No pressure, Brett.
- I’ll overcome my fear of jinxing him to note that Ryan Madson is enjoying another great run: since May 25, a span of 20 appearances, the 27 year-old righty has put up a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings, allowing 21 hits (17 singles, 4 doubles) and 7 walks while striking out 20. Opponents are hitting .244/.309/.291 against him in this span. Madson has pitched in the 8th inning or later in seven of his last eight games.