Cliff Lee, waving to fans during introductions at the All-Star Game in New York on Tuesday, was the Phillies’ most valuable pitcher during the first half of the season. Lee leads the team in victories (10), ERA (2.86) and strikeouts (126).

The Philadelphia Phillies arrived at the All Star break with a 48-48 record.

They are at .500 for the first time since they were 31-31 on June 7.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins says the record isn't important. He says what does matter is that Philadelphia trails the first-place Atlanta Braves by 6 games in the National League East. The Phillies are 5 games out of the league's second wild-card spot.

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"What's meaningful is that we're not out of the race," Rollins said. "We have (66) games left and that's going to determine the season. No matter how good you are, you're going to lose 50 games. You're going to win 50 games. It's the 62 (other games) that really make the difference. We are in the race and that's a good thing."

The All Star break is the traditional ending of the first half of the baseball's season. The Phillies first half can be described as inconsistent. The team was troubled by injuries - ace pitcher Roy Halladay, first baseman Ryan Howard and center fielder Ben Revere are out after shoulder, knee and ankle surgeries, respectively.

But other players such as All-Star outfielder Domonic Brown and pitcher Jonathan Pettibone emerged.

"It's been pretty exciting, actually," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of the team's first half. "For us to get ourselves back into the race and play a little bit better baseball has been good. The starting pitching has been great and we've swung the bats a little bit better."

Philadelphia headed into the break playing its best baseball of the season. The Phillies won four straight series and 9-of-13 games before the break.

"It took awhile for us to come together," Rollins said. "We have new faces, new personalities. But it's starting to work out."

Here's a look at the highlights and lowlights of the first half of the Phillies season:


Most Valuable Player: Domonic Brown. The 25-year-old made the transformation from prospect to player. He was the only Phillies position player to make the All-Star game. Brown now bats cleanup. He leads the team in home runs (23) and RBIs (67).

Biggest disappointment: Carlos Ruiz. The 34-year-old catcher missed the first 25 games for violating baseball's substance-abuse policy. Since returning, he hasn't resembled the player who hit a career-high 16 home runs in 2012. He is batting .268 with no home runs and just three extra base hits in 127 at-bats. Ruiz also has struggled behind the plate to block balls in the dirt.

Biggest surprise: Ben Revere. The center fielder acquired from the Minnesota Twins during the offseason provided two surprises. First, fans were surprised by how bad he was when he hit .200 in April. Then fans were surprised by how good he is. Revere has hit .347 since May 1 - sixth best in baseball during that stretch. Unfortunately, Revere is now out six to eight weeks after undergoing ankle surgery this week.


Most Valuable Pitcher: Cliff Lee. The only Phillies pitcher to make the All Star game, Lee leads the team in wins (10), ERA (2.86) and strikeouts (126).

Biggest disappointment: The bullpen. Cole Hamels seemed to have this title wrapped up. The Phillies went 2-14 in his first 16 starts. But Hamels has had some bad luck, and he pitched well in last three starts, allowing just four earned runs in 23 innings.

The bullpen has struggled form the start and hasn't gotten better. Phillies relievers have an ERA of 4.39 - worst in the NL. Closer Jonathan Papelbon has blown five saves, which is tied for second worst in the league.

Biggest surprise: Jonathan Pettibone. The 22-year-old rookie has helped compensate for the loss of Roy Halladay. He is 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 16 starts.

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