Expected vs. Unexpected
Expectations for the Phillies were sky high when the season got underway back on April 1. Harry Kalas’ favorite song, “High Hopes”, was certainly fitting.
Well, we’ve played 91 and have 71 more to go in the regular season. It has been an interesting 91 games, to say the least. Expectations were met in some areas (57-34 at the break with a 3.5 game lead, largest of any division). And, there were unexpected developments, many.
Injuries entered the picture, which can be expected in any sport. As Charlie would say, “We play with what we have.”
Brad, the No. 1 closer, never started the season. Then, Jose, the No. 2 closer, went down, twice. Then, Ryan, the No. 3 closer, went down.
Rookie Antonio Bastardo was expected to be an early-inning, situational lefty. Next, he moved in as Madson’s set-up man and then became closer #4. In that unexpected role, he has been lights out. Of the last 45 hitters he has faced, one has gotten a hit. Folks, that’s a .022 batting average. Rookie Michael Stutes began the season in AAA, came up and has stepped in as the late-inning set-up ace. Expected or unexpected?
Juan Perez, a minor league free agent signee in the off-season, came up this month as the second lefty in the pen. All he did last week was become the second Phillies pitcher ever to strike out the side on nine pitches. That has to qualify as unexpected.
Two of the fab-five starters, Roy-O and Joe, have been injured, limited to a combined 19 starts and a 5-8 record. Unecpected for sure.
Doc, Cliff and Cole have become baseball’s most dominating three-some, winning 31 of the Phillies 57 games. That would classify as expected. Rookie Vance Worley stepped in for Roy-O/Joe and is 4-1. Unexpected.
Cliff got a curtain call last Saturday after hitting his first home run ever. It was the lone run in an extra-inning loss and followed by a 14-1, 20-hit romp the next day. That may qualify as a double unexpected.
The offense has produced fewer runs than a year ago, which is unexpected. Ryan leads the club in homers and RBI, expected.
At the break, the Phillies had two pitchers with 10 or more wins and two hitters with 10 homers. Figure out that one.
Raul has had a cold April, hot May, cold June and hot July. His 6 RBI on Sunday were one more than his June total . 5 RBI in a month for him? Unexpected.
Sunday’s starting lineup included rookies Michael Martinez (3B), John Mayberry Jr. (CF) and Domonic Brown (RF). Only Brown was expected when the season started. In that game, Martinez had a career high in hits; Mayberry, a career high in doubles and RBI. The trio finished 10-for-15 with 6 RBI. That would probably classify as unexpected.
Which brings us to the last 71 games. What can be expected? Who knows?