The Phillies have won 4 of their last 5 games (against good competition too) and have scored 5 or more runs in all of the victories. Over the last 5 games, even the loss to the Yankees, the team has looked more like the team that has won back-to-back NL pennants and the 2008 World Series. Will the arrival of Jimmy Rollins help to keep the restarted engine running? Is Chase Utley hurt? If he is, perhaps he should have had a hurt knee a month ago because he was a beast last night in the Phils’ victory over the Twins.
The funny thing about Utley is that his stats (OPS, Runs Created and Wins Above Replacement and other metrics) are all in the top two or three on the Phillies’ roster. We have just come to expect so much of him that the slump he has been in is shocking. While his numbers are below his career averages and the worst of his career since he has became the Phils’ starting 2B, I believe he will bounce back. Relative to the rest of the team, which isn’t saying much when the team is playing poorly, Utley isn’t playing any worse than most of the team. It just appears that way because of the superlatively high standards he has set.
June hasn’t been a kind month to the Phillies, with only Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco hitting above .300. If not for Howard, who is having a great month so far (5 HR, 16 RBI, accounting for nearly half of the Phillies’ HR and 1/4 of the RBI this month) the Phillies would be much worse shape. Way to earn that money Big Piece!
It is rare for an entire team to undergo a month long slump but you have to believe that when the team does wake up (and it looks like that time might be now) the rest of the National League East will not be happy about it.