Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a wonderful Worley world

All the focus has been on John Mayberry, Jr. driving in nine runs over his past two games, but was anyone happy to see the whole Philly offense sticking it to R.A. Dickey?

Coming into Friday's game, Dickey had a career ERA of 2.25 against the Phillies, his best ERA against any NL team with at least 20 innings pitched. He and his fancy knuckleball shut out Philly twice last year.

It was good to see the Phillies get to him early and go on to beat the Mets convincingly. The Braves are going to keep the pressure on through the entire second half, so every win is huge. Winning this series over New York would also be an important statement to make, as the coaching staff is saving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee for the Cubs.

And how about that Vance Worley? (I suddenly realized I just uttered a phrase abused far too much by Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, so I vow never to use it again)

I'm still not sure if Worley's stuff really is that exceptional, or if he simply hasn't yet caught up to the law of averages (Randy Wolf's 1999 season, anyone?). The four walks he allowed in 5 1/3 innings on Friday tell me it's the latter, but reliever Chris Perez came in and shut the door, and Ryan Madson - fresh off the DL - aided the bullpen train that followed in a non-closing role to help tie down another win for Worley. He's now 5-1 this season with an ERA of 2.15.

Worley's high susceptibility to the free pass (3.98 walks per 9 innings) will eventually get him into trouble, but he's done exactly the job the Phillies needed him to do in the absence of Roy Oswalt.

Now if Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco can recover quickly from their ailments, the offense should do its part over the next two-and-a-half months. We can't rely on Mayberry every night.

note: Since 2005, the Phillies have posted a winning percentage of .589 or better in the second half. Last year, they went 50-25 (.667) after the All-Star Break.

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