The starting pitching has improved month-to-month for the Phillies this year and so has the pitching overall. So far in July it has been fantastic. The Giants are the team in the NL that has been the best at preventing runs this season — they have allowed 324 over 88 games or 3.68 runs per game. The Phils have allowed 3.65 runs per game this month.

Phillies’ pitchers have allowed a huge number of home runs this season, so you might think that the way they’ve consistently improved is by cutting down on the home runs. It isn’t, though. They still allow a ton of home runs — not as many as they allowed in April, but a lot. Here’s the rate the pitching overall has allowed runs, hits, walks and home runs per nine innings for each month this season so far:

Month R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9
April 5.63 10.06 3.72 2.01
May 4.76 8.99 3.37 1.25
June 4.64 9.95 3.74 1.23
July 3.65 7.81 1.87 1.27
Total 4.77 9.37 3.36 1.42

The runs allowed per nine innings has dropped every month since April. The pitching was just awful the first month of the season and the Phils allowed 40 home runs in 179 innings, which is more than two home runs per nine innings. The rate has dropped a lot since April, but it’s still a lot of home runs the Phils give up. The average NL team has thrown 785 innings for the season and allowed 86 home runs — that’s 0.98 per nine innings, which is a lot less than Phillies pitchers have allowed in any month this year.

It sure seems like we should be able to blame all of the home runs that the Phillies give up on Citizens Bank Park. And, sure enough, the Phillies pitching has allowed both runs and home runs at a worse rate at home this year than they have away:

  R/9 H/9 BB/9 HR/9
Home 4.94 9.48 3.50 1.53
Away 4.59 9.25 3.21 1.31
Total 4.77 9.37 3.36 1.42

The problem with blaming it on the yard, though, is that the Phillies are scoring more runs in their games away from home than in their games at Citizens Bank Park.

  Runs per
HR per
Home 5.11 1.38
Away 5.61 1.46
Total 5.35 1.42

So even if Citizens Bank Park is a great place to hit, the Phillies hitters have managed to find some other places that are greater. And while it might be a great place to hit home runs, the Phillies are hitting more on the road.

The AL beat the NL 4-3 in the All-Star game. Victorino had a single and scored a run. Utley 0-for-2. Ibanez 0-for-2. Howard had a big at-bat in the eighth with two on and the NL down a run with two outs, but Joe Nathan struck him out. Werth 0-for-1.

This suggests the Phillies have signed Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal that is worth $1 million with incentives that could be worth up to an additional $1.5 million.