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Phillies at Halfway Mark in Exhibition Games

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Vance Worley     Jimmy Rollins    Kyle Kendrick

As the Phillies approach the halfway mark in the exhibition schedule, Vance Worley has been impressive in the spring of his sophmore season in MLB giving up but 2 runs in ten innings of work over a 3 game span.   He’s been particularly brilliant over the last eight innings striking out 11 while giving up 4 hits.  Reliever Antonio Bastardo has also been impressive in four innings of relief over 4 games, giving up just 1 hit and no runs.  Kyle Kendrick has been great as well, giving up 4 hits over 8 1/3 innings while striking out 9 and holding opponents scoreless in 2 relief efforts and 1 start.   Closer Jon Papelbon has given up 6 hits, but only 1 run thus far this spring, while walking 2 and striking out 4 in five innings of work.

Ace starters Roy Halladay and lefthander Cliff Lee have been dinged a few times in the exhibition season while working to iron out some rough edges.  Neither Halladay nor Lee seem concerned, although some reporters have expressed alarm. The other ace, lefthander Cole Hamels also may be struggling a bit this spring, although he’s only been scored on twice in 10 2/3 innings over 3 games.  He’s given up 11 hits over that span while striking out 7.  Hamels has only walked 1 this spring, while Halladay has issued 1 free pass and Lee 2.  Joe Blanton, competing with Kendrick and Worley for either the 4th or fifth starter spot, tossed scoreless ball in his first 2 starts before giving up a 3 runs, including a homer in five innings in his most recent start which the Phils utlimately won over Atlanta last Thursday by a 6-4 score.

Offensively, the Phils have neither looked impressive nor consistent having scored 84 runs over 17 games through Saturday for about an even 5.0 average per game.  But then again, they are without two of their biggest cogs in 1st baseman Ryan Howard and 2nd baseman Chase Utley, and their other horses;  shortstop Jimmy Rollins, rightfielder Hunter Pence and centerfielder Shane Victorino have yet to find offensive consistency.   3rd baseman Placido Polanco seemed to be finding his hitting eye before reportedly going down with a sprained finger.     Utley might make it for opening day, but don’t look for Howard before May.   Therefore, the Phils hope for consistency from Rollins, Pence, Victorino, and hopefully Polanco while trying to patch together some offensive punch until they are back at full strength.

Reports note that Utley should debut in exhibition games next week.  Dontrelle Willis’ attempt at being a lefthanded arm in the bullpen failed, despite his clean inning Thursday vs the Braves, as the Phils released him on Friday.

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