Phillies 2008 Mid-Season Awards
by Scott Butler 7/15/08

This is a fun time of the year if you ask me. It is especially good this year because the Phillies are in first place at the break for the first time in a long time. I will analyze the first half in a later blog but first let's give some awards.

Best Starting Pitcher: Cole Hamels
This is an obvious choice. Cole has a 9-6 record which isn't tremendously impressive but a very nice 3.15 ERA. But perhaps Cole's best stat is 142.2 innings pitched which is tops in the NL. Especially following Adam Eaton, Cole is counted on many times to go deep into games which he has done all but once this season. As tired as our pen is right now he is the one guy who consistently saves their arms.

Best Relief Pitcher: Brad Lidge
Another no-brainer. I was not sold on Lidge at the beginning of the season. I remember watching him pitch against us and thinking "this guy doesn't scare me in the slightest." At the same time he seemed like another one of those players with injury issues the Phillies love to pick up because it is no risk and we don't need to give up much (can you say Freddy Garcia and Kris Benson?). Maybe Gillick got this one right because Lidge's slider is out of this world - it has a real hard bite with no spin, he can throw it at a couple of speeds, and can pitch it anywhere in the count. He is ridiculous right now and let's hope he keeps it up. Runner up: Chad Durbin.

Best Hitter: Chase Utley
Chase kind of limps in to the victory in this category but he still is the best. Before his 0-24 slump you could argue that no player in baseball was better. Chase was hitting for average, power, and on-base percentage and was well on his way to MVP #3 for the Phils. Since that 0-for slump he has been really sluggish and a bit disappointing to be honest. I bet if you asked Chase he would tell you he is just not feeling comfortable in the slightest right now. He still doesn't have his timing back (see previous blog on Utley), but he is fighting through and once he comes out of it - look out!

Best Fielder: Shane Victorino
This was a tough one but I'll give it to Shane. He has done a pretty darn good job in center for the Phils. He generally gets good jumps on balls and hasn't made many mistakes. And the boy can fly, which is important because Burrell is a statue in left and definitely needs some help tracking down balls. He can't show off his arm as much in center but it's still pretty good. Honorable mentions: Pedro Feliz and Jimmy Rollins.

Biggest Pitching Disappointment: Brett Myers
I'll make this brief. Brett was supposed to be a number two on the Phils (don't kid yourself, Charlie didn't pitch him opening day because he was #1) and ended up in the farm. I would say Eaton was a disappointment but I expected nothing of him anyway.

Biggest Hitting Disappointment: Carloz Ruiz
Wow, it is hard to imagine that Ruiz can be hitting .202 but he is and it is killing us. I never thought he was as good as the ownership made it sound but never thought it would be this bad. We can discuss this later.

Most Improved: Pat Burrell
Burrell's numbers aren't drastically better than other years, but one thing is different: consistency. You can always expect two things from Burrell: a good streak and a bad streak. The difference this year is that he stayed away from the really long streak (sorry Utley) and has been the stabilizing force in the lineup. Believe it or not, there are people (including myself) that actually want Pat back next year!

Biggest Surprise: Chad Durbin
The #1 Phillies bullpen, yes #1 Phillies bullpen has been drastically overlooked this year. You may not believe me but the bullpen is the biggest reason why we are first right now and I will get into that later. One main reason why is Chad Durbin. He seemed to me like just another body to put in bullpen and give us innings but he has turned out to be one of the guys Charlie relies on most. A 1.89 ERA and 52.1 innings in 36 games is amazing. Thank you Chad!

1st Half MVP: Chase Utley
Even though he struggled as I mentioned before he is the MVP right now, not only for his numbers but the way he approaches the game and leads on the field.

1st Half Cy Young Award: Brad Lidge
I really wanted to give it to Hamels but Lidge was just too darn good. He's the best closer in the league in my mind so he has to get the team Cy Young award.

Let's look forward to a better race in the second half.

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