Phillies Second Half Preview

The Phillies have 66 games to make their move.  The answer to achieving a second consecutive division title certainly relies on starting pitching.

“We definitely know we’ve got to pitch better,” Manuel said. “We’ve got to be more consistent. I think you guys know what I’m talking about.”

Yes, Charlie, we do.  You want Pat Gillick to get on the phone and just make it happen.  You want to wake up tomorrow the way Lou Piniella and Ned Yost did last week finding a new ace on their doorstep.

The problem is Gillick.  According to the New York Post, the Phillies are not willing to part with top prospects.  However, could their philosophy change if Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay became available?  The Ottawa Sun reports that Halladay is frustrated with a vicious cycle of losing in Toronto and he wouldn’t be opposed to a trade to a contender.  Pat Gillick has ties to Toronto as he won two World Series championships north of the border.  If Halladay was available, I would unload the Reading Phillies to Toronto.  Halladay gives you two aces on the staff for the rest of the year.  Additionally, Halladay is under contract for 2009 and 2010 at nearly $15 million per season which is a steal for a pitcher of Halladay’s stature.

Randy Miller spoke with the top writers in Major League Baseball about rumors and the Phillies’ chances in the second half of the season.

The Phillies cannot allow Manuel to put Myers AND Eaton out there each week.  The team does not win when these two disappointments start.  Allow Myers to come back and make a move to replace Eaton.  If Myers still can’t pitch, either get two starters or get one starter and bring up Happ.

Myers is 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA.  Myers, as it has been well documented, took the mature approach to accepting a demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley to work on mechanics and his mental approach to the game.  Myers, who has been solid against lesser competition, should be ready to rejoin the rotation after one AAA start following the All-Star break.

Adam Eaton may be the worst signing in recent Philadelphia sports history.  After signing a 3 year $24 million contract before last season, Eaton has been a number 5 starter on a good day.  This year, Eaton is 3-8 with a 5.71 ERA.  Eaton struggled so mightily last year he was left off of the playoff roster.

With 66 games remaining, the Phillies will play 31 at Citizens Bank Park and 35 on the road where the Phillies have fared well.  The Phillies have the second best road record (25-21).

The average winning percentage of the Phillies opponents in the second half is .483.

The Mets, with 67 games left, will play 35 at Shea and 32 on the road.  Their opponent winning percentage for remaining games is .487.

Regardless of the pitching struggles, fans are still coming out to the park to watch the Phils play.  The Phillies, in the first half of the year rank 5th in Major League Baseball in attendance.  The Phillies are averaging 41,720 fans per game.  At this pace, which goes up each game, the Phillies are on pace to set a ballpark record of 3,379,320 fans in 2008.  The Phillies will likely finish the year with the fourth best average attendance behind the Yankees (closing Yankee Stadium), Mets (closing Shea Stadium), and the Dodgers.

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