On the plus side, I do think there’s at least a chance that temperate wasn’t even that high on the list of collective goals.

Using OPS as the measure, Utley’s second base and Burrell’s left field are the only two positions where the Phils are getting more offense in 2008 than they got in 2007. That leaves six positions where they are getting less offense, the most dramatic of which are shortstop and first base. For each of the positions, here’s what all Phillies’ hitters who played that position in 2007 did compared to what they’re doing so far in 08 (the six positions doing worse are on top, left and second base below):


POS

08 OPS (NL Rank)

07 OPS (NL Rank)

07 OPS – 08 OPS
1B 658 (13) 930 (3) 272
SS 644 (9) 875 (2) 231
RF 643 (14) 791 (8) 148
CF 771 (5) 884 (1) 113
3B 590 (13) 688 (16) 98
C 690 (12) 725 (3) 35
       

POS

08 OPS (NL Rank)

07 OPS (NL Rank)

08 OPS – 07 OPS
2B 1.214 (1) 935 (1) 279
LF 1.177 (1) 904 (3) 273

Right field has been a disaster for the Phils so far this season, as Jenkins and Taguchi both struggle. The numbers overall presumably will get better as Werth starts to see more time in right with the return of Victorino. It’s also reasonable to expect that both Jenkins and Taguchi will hit much better the rest of the way.

Werth’s monster numbers help the Phils out at center, but it’s not likely the team is going to be able to keep pace with what Rowand did out there in ’07. Victorino was struggling badly with the bat when he went on the DL, if he doesn’t start to hit soon I think Werth may continue to get significant time out there.

At third the Phils are 13th in the NL after being 16th last year, but sadly that just means there’s a whole lot of NL third baseman out there that aren’t hitting at all. Led by Nunez, Phils third baseman in ’07 produced more offense than they have so far in ’08.

Ruiz has been miserable behind the plate, but Coste’s big numbers help the Phils out overall.

Utley is on pace to hit 62 home runs. Burrell is on pace to drive in 156 runs on the year, and that’s with the hitters on the team that aren’t Burrell and Utley combining to on-base .301 for the season. The fact that Burrell and Utley have combined to drive in 46 runs with just about nobody getting on base around them is impressive. Burrell at least gets to hit behind Utley, so 21 for Utley may be as impressive as 25 for Burrell.

This says Victorino is expected to be activated for tonight’s game with Bohn being sent down.

Mike Lieberthal will retire as a Phillie on June 1.

Cole Hamels (2-3, 2.75) faces righty Greg Maddux (2-1, 3.66) tonight in Philadelphia as the Phils play the first of three against the Padres. Four of Maddux’s five starts on the year have been very good. In his fourth start, on April 18 in Arizona, he allowed nine earned runs in seven innings against the Diamondbacks. His next start was last Wednesday and he shut the Giants out on four hits without a walk over seven innings. He’s walked just six in 32 innings on the year. Righties are hitting .301 against him, lefties .120. He made one start against the Phils last year, which came on August 24. That was the game Ruiz brought an unconventional approach to his slide into Marcus Giles at second base. Hamels threw 121 pitches and took the loss his last time out, a combination you would be looking to avoid. Threw 121 pitches and got the win would be better, but just a little bit. Over his last two starts he’s allowed nine earned runs in 14 innings (5.79 ERA) while throwing to a 1.50 ratio. Opponents are still hitting just .201 against him. He’s walked 12 in 36 innings, with 11 of the walks coming to righties. Hamels faced the Padres on July 19 last year and held San Diego to a run on two hits over seven innings. The Phils lost 1-0, shut out by Chris Young.