Kevin McAlpin covers the Phillies for 97.5 The Fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin)
Monday night's series opener with the Braves officially marked the halfway point of the 2010 season. The Phillies exited on the exact same pace as 2009, however find themselves in a much different position in the standings. After 81 games last year, the Phillies were 43-38 and had a two game lead in the NL East. It's been a much different story this year, while the Phils finished Monday with the same record at 43-38, they trail the Braves by five games.
If you go by just the numbers, there are some staggering statistics. For example, at this point in '09, the Phillies had scored 429 runs as compared to 384 this season. Defensively, the Phillies had committed just 32 errors to 51 this year. Perhaps the most telling stat though deals with the injuries. Last season the Phillies had seven players spend time on the disabled list. They're already matched last year's total and have had twelve players miss at least 15 days due to injuries.
A hot topic of conversation this year has dealt with offensive production. In 2009, the Phillies offense was hitting a combined .259 through 80 games. This year? How about a carbon-copy .259. For those of you who believe in omens, 2-5-9 last hit the PA Lottery Daily Number in the midday on May 7th, 2010 and evening on July 20, 2008!
With Monday night's win, the Phillies are on-pace to end the season 86-76. Will it be enough to win another Division? Can reserves like Wilson Valdez, Greg Dobbs and Dane Sardinha continue to contribute without Placido Polanco and Chase Utley? "We've been tried and tested" said Monday's hero Greg Dobbs, "we know we can fight and make it through these stretches." With 81 games remaining, every game from here on out becomes more and more important.