Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Where have I gone?

I know...I haven't been around much lately. Blame it on a combination of too much work, and the need to decompress and let the season soak in before I start to review it. I haven't been writing, but I have been planning out some entries, including entries on what went right, what went wrong, a position-by-position outlook, and a look at the minor league results this season. In general, posts will come less often throughout the offseason; but I'm writing now, and I suppose that we can start with an overall look at the 2003 Phillies.

While Phillies' fans may be disappointed with the way the season wrapped up, very few can argue that this season was not an improvement over last season. It started last winter when management opened up the pursestrings and brought in Jim Thome, David Bell, and Kevin Millwood. Just the impression that the team was serious and ready to make a run at things started the year off on the right foot. Also helping was the hiring of Joe Kerrigan as pitching coach. With the new pieces in place, there were improvements.

The Phillies went from 80 wins last season to 86 this year, despite the late-season tumble. The team played three games worse on the road this year (40-41 to 37-44) but improved by 8 1/2 games at home. The addition of the offense Thome brought to the table increased the team run total from 710 to 791 (imagine if Burrell had hit!), and the work Kerrigan did with the pitching staff lowered the runs allowed from 724 to 697.

Offensively, the team ranked first in the NL in walks, third in doubles, fourth in OBP, and fifth in runs scored and RBI. From the mound, Philadelphia was third in complete games and shutouts, fourth in HR allowed, and the bullpen ranked fifth in relievers' ERA. Behind the pitchers, the Phillies' defense ranked fifth in the NL fielding percentage and fewest errors.

So there were many bright spots in the 2003 season. Unfortunately, there were not enough to keep most Phillies' fans happy. Keep an eye here over the next day or so for my list of the five things that went right for the Phillies this year.