>In an up-and-down season, Philadelphia enters the All-Star break on a seven-game win streak, standing two games behind the AL North-leading New Britain Block Heads. Early in the season, the Milkmen looked lost after a 3-13 stretch left them in fourth place at 10-16. But immediately after that skid, Philadelphia reversed course and tore off a 13-3 stretch; since their nadir, the team has played .630 ball and posted a 41-24 record.
Offense remains Philadelphia’s strength. The Milkmen lead the AL in slugging, OPS, and runs, and rank near the top in many other categories. Pitching has been more problematic: Philadelphia’s 5.01 ERA is sixth-worst in the AL. The rotation has improved drastically with the addition of several key rookies, but the bullpen is still a major weakness.
CATCHER Sean Thomson (.287/.339/.498, 12 HR, 54 RBI): C+
CATCHER Rolando Belliard (.303/.353/.453, 4 HR, 27 RBI): B-
Belliard has torched lefties (.897 OPS) while Thomson has done well against RHP (.853).
FIRST BASE Shooter Farrell (.255/.345/.593, 35 HR, 71 RBI, 67 RS): B-
Farrell has struggled at times this season, but continues to mash.
SECOND BASE Everett Griffiths (.274/.343/.373, 32 SB, 65 RS): B
Leadoff hitter Griffiths is on pace to set a franchise record for stolen bases with 57.
THIRD BASE Jacob Dunn (.268/.326/.481, 24 2B, 21 SB, 50 RBI, 52 RS): B+
Rookie Dunn has mostly delivered on his promising minor league career.
THIRD BASE/SHORTSTOP Bernie Uribe (.298/.318/.552, 16 HR, 46 RBI): B
Despite an alarming lack of patience, Uribe has filled in for the injured Sosa fairly well.
SHORTSTOP Benito Sosa (.260/.325/.435 in 35 G): INCOMPLETE
Sosa’s injury ended a fairly good season; only time will tell if he can return to form.
LEFT FIELD Jim Jenkins (.296/.373/.443, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 41 RS): C+
The veteran Jenkins started out very strong, but has faded in recent weeks.
CENTER FIELD Bobby Ellis (.237/.309/.303, 15 SB, 43 RS): D-
Ellis’ play both at the plate and in the field has been a major disappointment this season.
RIGHT FIELD Walker Wilkins (.342/.424/.591, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 69 RS) : A.
Wilkins, Philadelphia’s lone All-Star, is among the top players in the AL.
DESIGNATED HITTER Homer Buddie (.279/.362/.540, 24 HR, 64 RBI, 63 RS): B+
Free agent Buddie has provided the middle-of-the-lineup presence Philadelphia needed.
BENCH: Victor Costilla (.327/.397/.519 in 52 AB) has provided a spark in recent weeks, while Carlos Bennett‘s sure glove has been invaluable with the injury to Sosa.
STARTER #1 Rafael Vidal (125 IP, 11-4, 1.22 WHIP, 3.53 ERA): A-
At age 40, Vidal continues to pitch well, and could have merited an All-Star nod.
STARTER #2 Haywood Jodie (108 IP, 4-3, 1.27, 3.98): B+
The only blemishes on Jodie’s season are a lack of run support and a minor injury.
STARTER #3 Miguel Almanza (39 IP, 3-2, 1.59, 6.46): C-
Acquired by trade, Almanza has been disappointing.
STARTER #4 Geraldo Nunez (69 IP, 3-8, 1.21, 4.00): B+
A poor win-loss record belies how essential the rookie Nunez has been to the rotation.
STARTER #5 Louis Durham (49 IP, 7-1, 1.41, 4.22): B+
Won his first five starts and is second on the team in wins despite making only 8 appearances.
LONG RELIEF Billy Robinson (50, 1.80, 7.28): D-; Ronald Cota (50, 1.79, 6.97): D-; Jamie Hunter (57, 1.54, 5.21): D+
Robinson has completely lost his touch, while Cota and Hunter have lost their starting jobs and struggled in relief.
SETUP Bret Jackson (56, 1.31, 5.24): C-; Julio Rosado (78, 1.30, 4.46): B-
Jackson has been victimized by the long ball; Rosado has made an acceptable rookie debut.
CLOSER Derrek Jensen (19/19 SV, 1.50, 4.95): C+
While Jensen has not pitched particularly well, he has yet to blow a save opportunity.