2013 Philly Fantasy Sports: Building a Better Sports Site

After dealing with family matters, this site will be rebuilt for the better. Fantasy news for football, baseball and hockey will be returning. Additionally, some Australian and European football news and views will be added. Stay tuned.

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Letter to My Readers, Mission Statement and the Future of Philly Fantasy Sports

Dear Readers,

Due to tumultuous family affair, I apologize for the delay in updating content on this sports blog.  For those who followed me at eagleshomefan.wordpress.com, this is the new site for your news and content.  I will still cover Philadelphia and fantasy sports  with the statistics, analysis and quality you’ve come to expect.  When time permits, I will cover international and niche sports as well.

You will be glad to know that in the future, those who have followed me and will follow me, the future will hold a lot more for this website than expected.  In the future, there will be cosmetic overhauls to the website, as well the addition of five-minute podcasts, possible contests and swag.  Lastly, there will be a new banner and logo for this website to emphasize the mission statement below.

Passion. Phantasy. Philadelphia.

This is the mission statement of this website, and it will ring true in 2012.

With Sincerest Apologies and Thanks,
Tex, Your Fellow Sports Nut

The Fourth of July State of the Philadelphia Phillies Address

With the Philadelphia Phillies leading the league with 53 wins and 32 losses by the sheer talent of their pitching staff and occasional bumps in offense, all has been well in the land of Phillies generally.  However, the Phillies are not without their problems, and these problems are perhaps more severe than they were last season.  Whereas the major concern with the inadequacy of the bullpen last season, this season the Phillies have contended with a depleted bullpen.  This is not good news at the present time, and hopefully, it won’t get worse as the season comes to a close.  Despite the 7-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday, with pitcher Cliff Lee on the mound, the Phillies are going into the All-Star Game with three Phillies pitchers, including Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and third baseman Placido Polanco.  That is impressive indeed as three pitchers have generally been stellar, and Placido Polanco was one potent bat for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Pitching Staff

The much-touted pitching staff of the Philadelphia Phillies so far has been the best in the league with the Atlanta Braves tied at 3.04.  General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made certain of an improvement in the pitching staff as a whole, after the San Francisco Giants pitching staff closed the doors on the Philadelphia Phillies last season.  However, the San Francisco Giants are not too far behind the Philadelphia Phillies ranked fifth overall presently with 3.20.  And Brian Wilson of the Giants is still one devastating closer as he is tied for first in the National League with 24 saves, and it appears he may come to haunt the Philadelphia Phillies offense this post-season perhaps.

Roy Halladay has been fantastic this season, much like every season as he is one consistent and elite pitcher.  He’s presently tied for first in the National League with 11 wins with Pittsburgh Pirates Kevin Correia and Atlanta Braves Jair Jurrjens.  He presently has a 2.44 ERA and an impressive 1.03 WHIP on 11 wins and 3 losses.  He is matching last season’s numbers so far with a 2.44 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.  Fortunately for him, he’s not known as a batter.  He’s actually performing worse than last season with a dismal 0.73 batting average presently.  It is only slightly worse than his previously dismal .141 batting average.  Halladay is third in ERA in the NL with 2.44 with his teammate Cole Hamels performing slightly better with 2.41 and Atlanta Braves Jair Jurrjens with a stunning 1.89 ERA.

Cliff Lee has been performing actually better than last season, with the month of June did giving him a boost. This season he has a 2.92 ERA and a spectacular 1.08 WHIP on 9 wins and 6 losses.  In his 2010 season with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, he had a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.  Cliff Lee at present is tied with Cole Hamels in the National League with his 9 wins and eighth in ERA overall.  Lee’s batting average hasn’t been half-bad for a pitcher.  Currently, he has a .205 batting average and a .22o on-base percentage.  Compared to his 2009 season with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had .212 batting average and on-base percentage.  Lee is certainly no power hitter like Ryan Howard, but he contributes to the Phillies offense.

Cole Hamels has been performing significantly better than his previous season. Cole Hamels is currently tied in the NL with his 9 wins with Cliff Lee and, and he has the second best ERA in the NL with 2.41 ahead of Cliff Lee.  He has significantly improved over last season with his present 2.41 ERA over last season’s 3.16 and stunning 0.94 WHIP compared to last season’s 1.18.  Like his teammate Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels has actually contributed to the offense this season.  He has a respectable .222 batting average and .243 on-base percentage.  Hamels is certainly no offensive batting machine, but he is more than capable of generating some runs this season.  With his injury to his glove hand and cleared to play tomorrow against the Florida Marlins, it will be interesting if it throws him off his rhythm or not.

Roy Oswalt, the least-talked-about pitching ace of the Philadelphia Phillies, has been battling through a spinal injury as of late. Presently, he is on the 15-day disabled list as he converses with doctors.  He is the weakest chain of the four with a 3.79 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. Unfortunately, Oswalt has performed much worse than he did last season.  In his 2010 season with the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, he had a 2.76 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.  In the meantime, his replacement Vance Worley has performed respectably.  Worley presently has 2.57 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.  Worley too has declined since last season.  His numbers for last season were a 1.38 ERA and 0.92 WHIP on 1 win and 1 loss.  Although Worley does show signs of elite pitching, it’s far too early to count as an ace pitcher.  In the meantime, Joe Blanton, the original fifth ace, is still on the disabled list as well.

Regarding the closers, the Philadelphia Phillies closers still aren’t anywhere elite status either. Brad Lidge has been pitching, and it appears that he is getting closer to returning to the Phillies bullpen.  Ryan Madson is not scheduled to come off the disabled list quite yet either, but no optimistic news has come yet.  Madson so far has had a pretty good season as Philadelphia Phillies closer nonetheless.  He is still 13th in the NL with 15 saves.  He is ranked about 4th or 5th in ERA among closers with a 2.03 ERA. His peer Jose Contreras, ranked 17th in the NL with 5 saves.  Unfortunately, Jose Contreras is still contending with his injury as well.  With the massacre in the bullpen, Charlie Manuel had to often rely on his starters going the distance, and most of them have served him well so far.  Unfortunately, he may be dipping into the well too often, and it might cost the Phillies in the playoffs.

Offense

The Philadelphia Phillies most recognized bat, Ryan Howard, has been performing as well as he did in the 2010 season so far.  He presently has a .253 batting average and a .353 on-base percentage.  Compared to his 2010 season, he had a .273 batting average and .353 on-base percentage.  He is currently second in the National League with 67 RBIs behind Milwaukee Brewers Prince Fielder‘s 69.  It sort of comes to no surprise as these two sluggers contend with each other.  Whereas Prince Fielder is currently ranked 19th in batting average in the National League with .296, Ryan Howard, however, isn’t even ranked among the top 40.  In terms of homeruns, Prince Fielder is ranked third with 21 homeruns. Comparably, Ryan Howard is ranked fifth with 17 homeruns tied with St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols and Chicago White Sox Carlos Pena.

Placido Polanco has been the most devastating of the Phillies offense, but he too has been on decline as of late.  With his injury, he has been out of the lineup recently, but he will return this Wednesday against the Florida Marlins.  Polanco currently has a .277 batting average, .331 on-base percentage, 4 homeruns and 39 RBIs.  He is currently ranked 35th in batting average in the National League.  Statistically, so far, he’s been performing comparably to his 2010 with his .298 batting average and .339 on-base percentage.

Chase Utley has made a triumphant return and his impact on the offense so far has been significant.  Presently, he has a .285 batting average, .386 on-base percentage, 4 homeruns and 18 RBIs.  He’s been performing better than last season so far.   Last season, he had .275 batting average and .387 on-base percentage.  During the last week, he’s performed admirably with a .389 ERA on a homerun and 2 RBIs.

Shane Victorino, the last potential man on the All-Star roster, has been impressive this season offensively.  He presently has a .303 batting average,  .376 on-base percentage, 9 homeruns and 34 RBIs.  Victorino is ranked 11th in the National League in batting average and tied for 37th in homeruns.  He has been a fantastic offensive machine for the Philadelphia Phillies this season.  In the past week, he’s had .381 batting average on a homerun and 6 RBIs.

Phillies Problems

Obviously, at this point, the injuries in the bullpen are a major point of concern with the Philadelphia Phillies.  With closers slowly coming back onto the active roster, the Phillies will have a chance of succeeding in the regular season and well into the playoffs.  Ryan Madson would be the first that fans should want to come back soon, but inconsistent Brad Lidge will have to do for now perhaps.  The next problem has been run support.  That relies on a consistent offense of which the Phillies don’t have presently.  When the pitchers have to win their own game on both sides of the diamond, that is a problem. Lastly, the offense as a whole needs to produce more often.  However, pitchers have become better, and it is an issue around the league as batters no longer have the edge.  After the All-Star Game, the Phillies offensive engine needs to get revved up so the Phillies can make a steady push into the playoffs.

All-Star Game and Beyond

The Philadelphia Phillies are poised to win the division at least and clinch a berth easily into the playoffs.  However, the Phillies are also dependable on a slump after the All-Star Game as the offense collapses in August or September.  It has been that way the past few seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, and this season should go no differently.  While all the clamor goes on the Philadelphia sports talk radio shows and the media about the bats effectiveness, the bats will return somewhat again in the playoffs.  At that point, the only concern is that the bats consistently and constantly generate runs in playoff games, which it has failed to do in the past couple of seasons.  With the way things look now, the Philadelphia Phillies will be joined by the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants in the playoffs.  This field of potential playoff contenders could well lead to an interesting path to the World Series.

With this as some food for thought, enjoy your 4th of July with your hot dogs, beer brats, hamburgers and assorted drinks!

San Francisco Giants Catcher Buster Posey Out for Season: The Catcher Equation in Professional Baseball

With San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey out for the season due to a broken ankle and strained ligaments in his knee, the question on whether and how to protect the catcher has been a much talked-about issue in the MLB.  On one side, there’s the upholding of tradition in baseball itself, and the fact that the catcher has the most protective equipment of all the players.  On the other side, the catcher may be one of the most important players in the game, next to the pitchers, and they should be held as valuable linchpins to be protected.  Last Wednesday night, at AT & T Park, Florida Marlins Scott Cousins collided with San Francisco Giants Buster Posey while he was attempting to score a run in the fifth inning.

Out of three veteran catchers in baseball, Buck Martinez, Brad Ausmus and Bob Boone all agree in consensus that the current rules should not be rewritten.  I have to agree with them as well.  Although baseball is a physical game, it is rarely a physical game, or at least not as physical as football. Most of these baseball players have a longer career span than most football or even basketball players, for example.  These type of collisions typically become noticeable generally only when a baserunner attempts to score, and depending on the physicality or speed of the baserunner, it can become quite dangerous. Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana’s season was ended by a similar collision.  Changing the rules concerning the catchers would be similar to preventing tackling of running backs or wide receivers in football if they are five yards away from the end zone. It is a bit of a flawed analogy, but it gets the point across. This alteration in the rules would change the game itself, and the impact of scoring in the game of baseball would be diminished to nothing.

Unfortunately, for the San Francisco Giants, they lost a significant cog in their offense and an integral part of their defense in Buster Posey.  Alongside this debate, the Giants are debating whether Buster Posey will return to his catcher position upon his lengthy recovery from his injury.  In the meantime, Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart will appear to be both handling catcher duties, with Whiteside acting as the primary catcher.  On the bright side, they are still in competition for first place in the AL West with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  It is too early for the San Franscisco Giants to give up hope and too rash for a change  of rules.

The Philadelphia Phillies Reality Check: Overcoming the Woes of the Disabled List

At this point, the number of Philadelphia Phillies players on the disabled list is beyond amazing.  Although the lack of offense is saddening, it pales in comparison to what accounts for 15% of the 40-man roster having been on the disabled list this season.  Admittedly, this is a tough stretch of offensive woes, but as said earlier, the Philadelphia Phillies are not alone, and they are facing some of the better offenses.  Not discounting the depression of offense in most teams currently, the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals all lit up their opponents recently.

Presently, Chase Utley, one of Phillies better bats, has become healthier over the past month or so. He is expected back this Monday after his recovery from patellar tendinitis. With him back in the lineup, he should become a leader in the Phillies offense.  And with Shane Victorino out for a strained left hamstring, he won’t be expected to return until early June.  Victorino has been having a solid season with a .284 batting average and a very good .343 on-base percentage.  His replacement Dominic Brown is not such a good replacement.  With present season statistics of a .210 batting average and .257 on-base percentage, he has been average on offense.

Unfortunately, the Phillies pitching roster has taken a hit, but it may not be quite as bad as expected.  With starter Joe Blanton out, Kyle Kendrick has taken over.  Joe Blanton has been the weakest link of the Phillies pitching rotation.  Presently, he’s had a mediocre 5.50 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP before being sidelined. Kyle Kendrick has done slightly better although he has played half the number of games that Blanton has this season. Kendrick currently has a 3.28 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.

With both closers Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge both sidelined, Ryan Madson has taken the role of closer with finesse.  He’s had a 0.50 ERA on 18 innings pitched and with 9 saves to date.  Contreras is expected to return fairly soon, and Lidge is expected to return in June sometime.  Although things could have gone worse once Madson took over, he’s been more consistent than either Contreras or Lidge and better than both statistically over their careers.

With Brian Schneider out, Carlos Ruiz has taken the position of catcher full-time again.  Between the two, Ruiz has been better offensively.  Ruiz presently has a .220 batting average and a much better .316 on-base percentage; on the other hand, Schneider has a dismal .173 batting average and .218 on-base percentage.  Although Schneider has clicked with most of the starting pitching rotation as a catcher, his lack of offense won’t be missed. Unfortunately, neither of them are Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants.  He’s been an offensive weapon with a very good .281 batting average and .369 on-base percentage for this season.

Fortunately, for manager Charlie Manuel and Phillies fans, most of those on the disabled-list are returning by the close of June at the latest.  Until then, we can hope that no more Phillies players go on the disabled-list while we wait.

The Philadelphia Phillies Reality Check: Are the Bats Really On the Decline Again?

The Philadelphia Phillies are in yet another offensive funk within a couple of months.  But this is nothing new to this baseball organization as the bats have nearly gone into decline the past few seasons around this time.  Like last season, the offense after the first month falls into ruin for no apparent reason.  With the pitchers struggling or overcoming injuries, the Phillies aren’t helping themselves.  As a team, they were originally in the top 5 in overall total runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.  However, now they are ranked 19th, 16th, 16th and 22nd in each of those respective statistics. They are now a half-game ahead of the Florida Marlins in NL East and holding to it by a thread as the potent offense of the Colorado Rockies come into town.

The toted All-Star Rotation in the beginning of the season have been in decline.  Surprisingly, they are maintaining 2nd overall in the overall ERA rankings in the entire league. In May, Roy Halladay has fallen slightly from a 2.35 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP compared to his season average of 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.  He’s been the one bright and consistent star on the entire team.  The prodigal son of Philadelphia, Cliff Lee, has actually improved over the past month.  He had a 3.42 ERA and 1.48 WHIP compared his season average of 3.84 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. In a turn of events, Cole Hamels has stepped up even with the presence of Cliff Lee.  Usually, like a couple of seasons before, the opposite effect happened with Cliff Lee pitching great while Cole Hamels pitching not so well.  Presently, Cole Hamels has a season average of 3.19 ERA and 1.04 WHIP which is better than Cliff Lee. In May, however, he had 3.27 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt has declined slightly this season as well.  He presently has a season average of 3.33 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.

But the offense is what important now as it seems that the Phillies can’t generate any significant offense with the elite pitchers in their starting rotation. Currently, they are ranked 19th in total runs sandwiched between the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles.  Astonishingly, they are even below the lackluster New York Mets who are ranked 13th. But these numbers are slightly deceptive. Ryan Howard is keeping pace with his All-Star statistics.  He is ranked 6th overall in total runs and 2nd in runs batted-in in the National League.  Furthermore, Placido Polanco currently has the 5th best batting average in the National League with .338.  Ryan Howard has declined in May, however.  He has to a .182 batting average compared to his season average of .252.  Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins has declined slightly in May with .250 batting average compared to his season’s .269.  And the last and the worst, Placido Polanco’s batting average has plummeted in May despite holding 5th overall in batting average.  He had a .222 batting average throughout May so far compared to his season average of .338.  As a Phillies team, they aren’t performing spectacular, but they aren’t alone.  The malaise in offense seems to be affecting the entire league, especially the NL East.

What the Phillies are suffering from, most of the rest of the league as a whole are declining as well.  I imagine it’s the team rosters settling down and contending with injuries.  With the Philadelphia Phillies losing their last four consecutive games, it’s too early to spell doom and gloom quite yet.  Roy Oswalt’s loss last night 2-1 against the St. Louis Cardinals should be taken with a grain of salt.  Their offense has been hot this season as Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman are ranked 1st and 2nd in the entire National League with batting averages of .360 and .352 respectively, and Lance Berkman leads the NL with runs batted-in.  We still have several months before September rolls around, and playoffs come into view.  It’s far too early to cry wolf…yet.

Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb and Jayson Werth in Washington: Something Borrowed, Something Failed

Washington, D.C. The Nation’s Capital but with sports teams, it seems to begin with a capital “F” for Failure.  Last year, it began with the acquisition of Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles to become the Washington Redskins starting quarterback for the 2010 season.  This ultimately led to Donovan McNabb’s final departure after the Redskins collapse at FedEx Field in November 15 as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick dominated the entire Redskins team throughout the game.  Ultimately, his erratic gameplay from this game and the rest throughout the season finally forced coach Mike Shanahan‘s hand, and he was released.  While Donovan McNabb was with the Philadelphia Eagles for 11 seasons, he maintained an average 85.7 quarterback rating.  Yet in a single season with the Redskins, his rating plummeted to a 77.1 quarterback rating, significantly below his career average with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last season with them at 92.9.

Now another Washington team has bought another Philadelphia sports player, Jayson Werth.  But Werth has not been the acquisition that Washington Nationals has hoped.  Presently, he has a .226 batting average and a .322 on-base percentage.  This is only his second worst season batting average and on-base percentage so far, with his worst being .208 and .262 respectively in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Compared to his four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had a .284 batting average and .382 on-base percentage overall.  On the Washington Nationals roster, Jayson Werth has the 10th best batting average, but he does lead the team in home runs presently with 4. Admittedly, Jayson Werth is contributing to the Washington Nationals and has been getting significantly better batting third in Washington’s lineup.  However, his seven-year, $126 million contract may be too much for his less than stellar contributions previously. Unlike with Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins, Werth has not been a complete bust with the Washington Nationals although his production early this baseball season did raise eyebrows.

With free agency, Philadelphia sports fans have to wonder if another Washington team might acquire another sports player, and that player turn into a bust or close to one.   Maybe someone on the Philadelphia Flyers join the Washington Capitals.  Maybe someone from the Philadelphia Union join DC United. Perhaps for Washington’s sake, it would be better if nothing occurs at all.

Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies Squeak Past the Florida Marlins

With the Phillie Phanantic birthday yesterday, accompanied with his friends and Philadelphia Phillies fans on a sunny and windy Sunday, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park 3-2. The Marlins offense was persistent and efficient during much of the game, but Carlos Ruiz ‘s sacrifice fly brought home Ryan Howard for the winning run in the eighth inning.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels pitched quite efficiently in this game with 7 innings pitched, 101 pitches and a 4.32 ERA.  However, he did have difficulty in the top of the sixth inning.   Florida Marlins second baseman Omar Infante started off the inning with a double to the left. Mike Stanton singled to shallow left to bring in Omar Infante to bring the run, closing the Phillies lead to 2-1.   Logan Morrison sacrificed fly to right brought in Mike Stanton for the tie score of 2-2.

Going through the Phillies bullpen, Ryan Madson pitched in the eighth inning with 26 pitches and the win for this game.  He was extremely efficient in the inning that he pitched.

Phillies closer Jose Contreras, perhaps as erratic as injured Brad Lidge, kept things interesting on top of the ninth inning.  Marlins John Buck began the inning with a walk off of Contreras, and Scott Cousins came in to pitch run for John Buck.  Greg Dobbs, Marlins pitch hitter, grounded out to second and brought Cousins to second base.  Jose Contreras then walked Chris Coghlan.  By this time, Philadelphia Phillies fans are holding their breath as the Marlins have runners on first and third base.  But they would get little reprieve as Jose Contreras threw a wild pitch that was luckily blocked by Carlos Ruiz, but Chris Coghlan would earn a stolen base.  Fortunately, Omar Infante’s ground out to third closed the inning to keep the score 3-2.

This was a fairly exciting although low-scoring game.  The Milwaukee Brewers will come to Citizens Bank Park tonight at 7 PM.  The starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies will be Joe Blanton who has been less than spectacular this season.  So far, through this season, he has a 10.34 ERA on a 1.94 WHIP.  For the Brewers, they will start Shaun Marcum who has been much better.  Currently, he has a relatively efficient 2.55 ERA on 1.19 WHIP.  Unfortunately, tonight’s game may not go in Phillies favor again with Joe Blanton on the mound.

Jayson Werth and the Washington Nationals Conquer Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies…For Now

Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies had their weakest link in the name of their fifth starting pitcher in the rotation, Joe Blanton, facing perhaps the strongest link in the Washington Nationals chain, their first starting pitcher Livan Hernandez, next to their third baseman and strongest batter Ryan Zimmerman.  However, Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list recently due to an abdominal injury caused by a slide into second base last Saturday against the New York Mets, and his power wasn’t missed too much in this game as Jayson Werth compensated for his absence.

Although Ryan Howard homered to the left in the second inning, Jayson Werth responded in kind in the fifth inning.  By that time, Washington Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa sacrificed fly to bring in Wilson Ramos to tie the game into the top of third inning.  Unfortunately, Blanton will be Blanton…and the collapse of the fourth inning as Wilson Ramos doubled to bring in Jayson Werth for another run and the lead. Nationals outfielder Laynce Nix got another run to close the fourth inning with the score of 4-1.  Into the eighth inning, Raul Ibanez started a mini-rally against the Nationals, but it was too little, too late, and Placido Polanco’s single in the ninth simply wasn’t enough.  The game ended on a low note for the Philadelphia Phillies with the score of 7-4.

Phillies Joe Blanton, the starting rotation’s weakest link, had a disastrous 10.45 ERA on six innings pitched.  Nationals starting pitcher Livan Hernandez had a solid night with 3.50 ERA on 6.2 innings pitched, 7 hits and 1 homerun.  Their closer Sean Burnett had an excellent night with 1.35 ERA.  But that was last night…

Tonight is a bit of a different story for the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at 7 PM.  Phillies devastating starting pitcher Roy Halladay will go against John Lannan of the Nationals.  With Halladay focused and maintaining exceptional statistics in the beginning of the season, he is a force to be reckoned with his 0.92 WHIP and 0.69 ERA on 13 innings pitched.  Tonight’s game should have a completely different complexion, and Jayson Werth and the Washington Nationals will get their due.

Starter Roy Oswalt and the Philadelphia Phillies Swept Houston Astros in Their Opening Series

Yesterday was a bright and sunny spring day, and this was an indication of how the Philadelphia Phillies did yesterday against the Houston Astros with their win of 7-3.  The Phillies offense was lit up in this game, and it certainly helped Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt.  This was an accomplishment for the Phillies as this was their first opening series home sweep since 1970.  Oswalt had a solid day as he pitched for six innings, 5 hits, a homerun and a 3.00 ERA for this game.

Houston Astros starter Bud Norris, however, was a bit erratic in his four innings as he ended the day on 6 hits, 2 homeruns and a 11.25 ERA.  The Phillies offense lit it up in the first inning and set the pace for the rest of the game.  Starting with Jimmy Rollins singled to right and Placido Polanco on his walk in the bottom of the first inning, Ryan Howard blasted the ball off of Bud Norris for a 3-run homerun.  Soon after, Ben Francisco sealed the first inning with a solo homerun to bring the score to 4-0.  Norris was pulled after four innings, but the scoring did not stop for the Phillies.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, Shane Victorino singled to the right off of reliever Enerio Del Rosario to bring in Ben Francisco.  Michael Martinez singled to the left afterwards and brought in Carlos Ruiz for a score of 7-2.

There were few issues apparent with the Philadelphia Phillies in this game.  Roy Oswalt was sure and steady, like the other three aces in the Phillies starting rotation.  Ryan Howard, unlike the past couple of seasons, was not overtly greedy on balls pitched to him.  Additionally, Howard contributed significantly to this game on his 3 hits, 4 RBIs, a homerun and a .600 batting average.  Ben Francisco, the other prominent contributor to this game, had 3 hits, single RBI, solo homerun and a .600 batting average.  Without Chase Utley who is on the DL and Jayson Werth sent to the Washington Nationals, it appears that the Phillies offense was declared dead on arrival a bit too early.  However, the season is still early, and the Phillies aren’t a few months into the regular season yet.

The next game will be against the New York Mets tomorrow at 7:05 PM.  Starting pitcher for the Phillies will be Cole Hamels, and he will be against the Mets starter Chris Young. Comparably, in their careers, Cole Hamels had a 3.53 ERA on WHIP of 1.18, and Chris Young had 3.80 ERA on WHIP of 1.21.  Hamels is slightly better than Young, but it should be noted that Hamels has been steadily and consistently getting better since 2006.  Since 2006, Cole Hamels had an increased throughput of 76 more pitches, 145 to 211 strikeouts, a slightly better WHIP from 1.25 to 1.18 and a better ERA from 4.08 to 3.06.