Ah, the Phillies. How will they finish? 87-75? 90-72? Who knows? As for their first 30 games, they are 14-16, sitting 3.5 GB the Atlanta Braves. Let's break down the Phillies, and try to understand if they'll be a boom or a bust.
First, we look at the hitting. Howard and Utley both homered last night for the 49th time in their careers. But, the Phillies only managed 4 runs and the bullpen nearly blew the game in the 7th inning. The Phillies have 111 runs so far, placing them 11th in the NL. Their .304 OBP is 12th in the NL. And beside triples, the Phillies are not in the top 3 in any offensive category. Only Michael Young bats over .300, and Domonic Brown, Michael Young, Chase Ultey, and Ryan Howard have OBPs over .300 (minimum 93 PA, 3.1 PA per game).
Offensively, this could be a tough year for the Phillies. Their early play has been backed by some good pitching, which is why they aren't further down in the standings. If their offense can't contribute well enough, it may be hard to put them as a boom.
The Phillies have had their ups and downs pitching wise. With a 4.30 team ERA (13th in NL), the Phillies don't look like the team that had "four aces" just a few good years ago. In the starting rotation, the Phils just have three guys with an ERA of below 4 (Jonathan Pettibone, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick). And Roy Halladay, John Lannan, and Cole Hamels? Their ERAs are 6.75, 6.14, and 4.78, respectively. But, the Phillies are 8th in the league with 224 strikeouts.
Their bullpen, though, has been pretty good. Bastardo, Adams, and Papelbon have been a good 7th, 8th, and 9th punch. Pap is 5/5 in save opportunities thus far. This is the bright spot in the Phillies roster.
Are the Phillies a boom or bust? If they can get good pitching, and get enough runs per game, the Phils could make a playoff run. But, as for now, they aren't doing that.
Prediction: Bust (75-87, 3rd NL East)