Cheer: OF Raul Ibanez
If you told me that the 36-year old would be having a good season I wouldn’t be too surprised, but a .363 batting average, 13 homers (2 in the first game today against the Nats **UPDATE** Raul just hit ANOTHER one in the night game. That’s 3 home runs today) and 35 RBIs is just ridiculous. Ibanez probably won’t keep this up all season long, but his emergence has taken a lot of pressure off the other big bats in the lineup. He’s also living up to the hype in terms of being able to hit lefties, batting .324 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. His strikeout to walk ratio against left-handers could be better (3 BB to 14 K), but that’s just nitpicking at this point.
The person most happy with Ibanez’s play? GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who is looking like a genius right now for picking Ibanez over Pat Burrell in left (.250, 1, 17, and a neck injury.) If you asked me who the Phillies MVP would be as of right now no question it would be Raaaaauuuullllll.
Jeer: SS Jimmy Rollins
There is no question J-Roll has been a massive J-hole in the lineup. He’s been downright dreadful as a leadoff hitter batting just .186 with a .221 OBP, and was rightfully demoted to fifth in the order. That seemed to help though and he now has hits in five games in a row.
The only thing that really concerns me about his slow start is the fact that he usually is quick out of the gate (he hit .298 last May.) If Rollins continues to struggle into June it may be time for a permanent demotion out of the leadoff spot, especially considering Shane Victorino has better numbers when leading off (.250, .308) and takes more pitches.
Cheer: SP Cole Hamels
We all knew Cole would turn it around at some point after a couple bad (and unlucky) outings to start the season. Sure enough over his last two starts (13 IP) he is 1-0, with a 2.08 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and just 3 walks. Given how bad the rest of the starting pitching has been it will be important for Cole to continue to anchor the rotation and put the Phils in a position to pick up a W every fifth day.
Jeer: SP Jamie Moyer
Moyer got off to a slow start in Apriil (5.09 ERA) but surprisingly he has been even worse in May. In three starts (two against the Mets and one against the Dodgers) he is 0-1 with a 13.86 ERA. He’s given up 6 home runs and walked 7 batters while striking out just 4.
I love to see Jamie pitch well just as much as the next Phillies fan, but at age 46 you have to wonder if he can still be an effective pitcher. He’ll be the first person to admit his control hasn’t been there so far in 2009, but for a pitcher who relies solely on his control that is a serious problem. One or two more bad starts for Moyer and I say it’s time to start looking at other options for his spot in the rotation…he has just been that bad.
Cheer: RP/SP J.A. Happ
Happ has been on a mission to prove he deserves a spot in the starting rotation and you’d have to think it’s only a matter of time until he gets a chance given the way he’s pitched so far this season. He is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, and hasn’t allowed an earned run over the last 10.1 innings he’s pitched. His performance in extra innings against the Nats was particularly impressive last night: after surrendering a hit to leadoff the bottom of the eleventh, he struck out Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam Dunn swinging to retire the side. I don’t care that the Nats suck…that is damn impressive.
Jeer: RP Brad Lidge
Lidge just picked up a save today after blowing one last night, and eventually I’m confident he will regain his form from last season. So far in 2009/2010 however he has been anything but reliable (6/8 in save opps, 8.64 ERA, 1.98 WHIP.) The team continues to insist he is healthy and Lidge has owned up to his mistakes so far, but the Phillies will need him to own the ninth the way he did last year from here on out if they want to have a shot at the division.
Cheer: SP Brett Myers, Chan Ho Park
While Myers got off to a bit of a slow start he has really settled down since giving up 5 runs in a 10-7 win over St. Louis (quite the barnburner!) Over his last two starts (13 IP) he has allowed just 8 hits, 3 ER, and has 11 Ks.
As for Chan Ho (no longer Chan Ho’rrible, for now at least) things looked bleak after he got rocked for 7 ER in a May 1 loss to the hated Mets. Since then however he has been surprisingly solid, almost out-dueling Johan Santana in his next start (allowing only 1 hit in 6 innings) and picking up a win over his former team (los doyers) in a May 12th win. The key to the turnaround has been Park’s newfound aggressiveness…he walked as many batters as he struck out through his first five starts (11) but since then he has 8 K’s to just 2 BB’s. Park was at his best in Spring Training when he went after hitters and you can certainly credit that approach for his last couple of outings. The fifth spot in the rotation continues to be his for the time being.