The Philadelphia Phillies finished the first half with a 57-34 record which has them in first place in the N.L. East, 3.5 games ahead of the Braves. The Phillies have been winning with pitching as they have a team ERA of 3.02 with a 1.16 WHIP. The Phillies had a lot of injuries in the first half of the season but they will be opertating at almost full speed in the field when they return to action after the All-Star break. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest impact for the Phillies in the first half:
Team MVP: 31-year old lefty swinging 1B Ryan Howard put up huge numbers in the first half of the season without much help in the batting order. Howard has played in 90 games for the Phillies so far this year and he is 87 for 339 (.257 avg, .828 OPS) with 47 runs scored, 18 homers, 72 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Wait until you see the numbers Howard is going to put up in the second half with almost everyone healthy.
Biggest Surprise: 23-year old righty starter Vance Worley and 25-year old lefty reliever tied for this award. Vance Worley has stepped in at the back end of the rotation with Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton a tad gimpy. Worley has pitched in 10 games (8 starts) for the Phillies so far this year and he is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Antonio Bastardo ended the first half of the season as the Phillies’ closer due to injuries to Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson. Bastardo has pitched in 36 games (0 starts) for the Phillies so far this year and he is 3-0 with 5 saves, a 0.82 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. He has only given up 11 hits in 33 innings this year with 38 whiffs and those are eye popping numbers.
Biggest Disappointment: The Phillies were depending on 30-year old righty starting pitcher Joe Blanton as the #5 starter. But he has been ineffective and now he’s injured. Blanton has started 6 games for the Phillies so far this year and he is 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. He might have a hard time getting his job back when he gets healthy due to the pitching of both Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick.