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July 6 2007

For the second straight season the Phillies are the best offensive team in the NL.  In 2006, the Phils scored an NL-high 865 runs or about 5.34 runs per game.  As expected, they are off that pace this season, having scored 439 runs in 85 games, or about 5.16 runs per game.  They are on a pace to score about 837 runs.

In 2006 they led the NL in OPS as a team, posting a .794 mark.  They lead the NL again this season at .789. 

Here's a look at how the '07 Phillies are producing offensively by position, using OPS as the measure, compared to the '06 Phillies:

 

  2007 2006
Position OPS NL Rank OPS NL Rank
C 746 5 793 5
1B 872 5 1.063 1
2B 970 1 888 1
3B 722 12 684 15
SS 834 5 804 4
LF 797 11 896 5
CF 866 2 756 5
RF 743 7 816 6

At center field, second base and shortstop, Rowand, Utley and Rollins are out producing their '06 selves. 

Howard is off his '06 pace at first. 

Burrell has been miserable in left, but his .810 OPS as a left-fielder is still higher than the team's mark at the position overall.  Too much Bourn (.721 OPS in 43 at-bats in left) and Werth (.499 OPS in 31 at-bats) have hurt the Phils there, although Dobbs has torn things up in his limited time, posting a 1.166 OPS in his 30 at-bats as a left fielder.

In right, the Phils are slightly off the pace of 2006, but doing far better than many would have expected.  Victorino is on pace to stroke 19 home runs  He also brings an offensive dimension that is not reflected in OPS -- he's on pace to steal 51 bases and be caught just four times.  Victorino has gotten virtually all of the at-bats in right, 312 of the 356 at-bats (about 88%) for Phillies right-fielders.  That's one of the things I expect we'll see change in the second half of the season.  I'm still holding out hope to see more of Victorino in center and some other guys in right, Dobbs, who has appeared in right but does not have an at-bat this season as a right fielder, especially.

The Phillies' catchers are off the pace of their '06 counterparts.  Ruiz has gotten 199 at-bats and posted a .740 OPS, Barajas 102 with a .746 OPS.  Among the 30 NL players with 50 plate appearances as a catcher, Barajas' .746 OPS is ninth-best.  We'll have to wait and see if Coste gives the Phils the same offensive boost from the position this season in the second half as he did last year.

Third base is still a disaster are the Phils remain among the worst teams in the league at the position.  The Phils have gotten better at the hot corner since '06, but not enough.  Nunez has gotten the most at-bats for the team at third and posted a .676 OPS in 150 at-bats.  Among the 27 NL players who have gotten 50 plate appearances as a third baseman, the .676 OPS posted by Nunez is 23rd best.  Dobbs has been remarkably bad with the bat while playing third, hitting just 232/259/429 in 56 at-bats compared to 367/382/733 in 30 at-bats as a left-fielder and 318/362/545 in 44 at-bats as a first baseman.  Helms has gotten 131 at-bats as a third baseman and been better than his numbers for the year overall.  In 131 at-bats as a third baseman Helms has hit 290/345/443.  His numbers as a first baseman are miserable, 200/256/225 with seven singles and a double in 40 at-bats.  Too much Nunez at third for the Phils.

The Phillies will be in Colorado tonight for the first of three.  Kyle Kendrick (3-0, 4.38) faces lefty Jeff Francis (8-5, 3.56) in the series opener.  Kendrick has been surprisingly solid in his four starts, allowing just 23 hits in 24 2/3 innings.  Righties are hitting just .220 against him with a 1.03 ratio.  Lefties are faring better, hitting .280 with a 1.54 ratio and three of the four home runs that Kendrick has allowed.  The lefty Francis threw seven shutout innings in Houston on Saturday, holding the Astros to just three hits as he notched his eighth win.  He has walked just 33 in 111 1/3 innings this season.  Righties are hitting .282 against him and lefties just .219.  He has faced the Phillies just once.  On July 31, 2005, he struck out eight while throwing six shutout innings as the Rockies rolled to a 9-2 win in Colorado.  Chances are good that Matt Kata, Tomas Perez, Endy Chavez and Ramon Martinez don't combine to go 0-for-7 tonight for the Phils.

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