PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies haven't been great so far in 2014.
They haven't been bad either.
Philadelphia has been OK and slightly entertaining.
The Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park today for their home opener with a 3-3 record. Philadelphia faces the Milwaukee Brewers (4-2) at 4:05 p.m.
In honor of the Phillies' 3-3 mark, here are three things that have gone wrong and three things that have gone right through the first week of the season.
The bullpen: Phillies relievers rank No. 10 in the 15-team National League with a 4.02 ERA. They are 0-2 and have walked 12 batters in 152/3 innings. Closer Jonathan Papelbon is a major concern. He blew his first save attempt of the season, allowing three runs in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. But the biggest problem is Papelbon's diminished velocity. According to Pitchf/x data, which measures the speed and location of every major-league pitch, Papelbon's four-seam fastball measured 96.18 miles per hour in April 2008. This April that same pitch measures 91.5 mph
Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett: The Phillies have lost both of Burnett's starts. The pitcher was especially disappointing when Philadelphia had a chance to sweep the Chicago Cubs and return home with a 4-2 record. Burnett allowed eight runs and walked six in 52/3 innings as the Phillies were never in the game and lost 8-3. Burnett has allowed 21 base runners in 11 2-3 innings in his two starts.
Strikeouts: Many Phillies hitters are striking out too much. Ryan Howard has struck out nine times in 25 at-bats. Marlon Byrd has struck out seven times in 25 at-bats and Jimmy Rollins six times in 19 at-bats.
Chase Utley: The second baseman is off to an outstanding start. He is batting .458 (11-for-24) with two home runs and six RBIs. He is No. 1 in the NL with an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.369.
Domonic Brown: The outfielder has yet to hit for power (zero home runs and one double) but there are plenty of positive signs. He is batting .381 with a .435 on-base percentage and just three strikeouts in 21 at-bats
A .319 batting average vs. left-handed pitchers: With their left-handed dominated lineup, the Phillies have struggled against left-handed pitchers the past few seasons. But they are 30-for-94 against lefties this season with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Utley (5-for-13) and Byrd (4-for-11) have been particularly effective. Among NL teams, the Phillies are third in batting average and RBIs and first in home runs against lefties.
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