Jul 312010

July 31 Philadelphia Daily News

“The questions were everywhere.

Coming off one of the most prolific seasons of his career, Raul Ibanez suddenly found himself staring down the barrel of a potential platoon situation. The club was about to call up its 22-year-old top prospect, presumably to share time with the veteran in leftfield. Ninety-four games into the season, Ibanez was hitting just .253 with a .306 on-base percentage, .695 OPS and six home runs. When the club finally called the prospect up to the majors, the kid responded with two hits and two runs in his first game of the year.

Sound familiar?

It was 2007. The prospect was Adam Jones. And Ibanez was 35.

If the situation seems similar to the one the Phillies have witnessed in 2010, know this: Ibanez finished that year hitting .357 with a .423 OBP, 1.057 OPS and 15 home runs in August and September.

His final numbers in 2007 – a .291 average, .351 OBP, .827 OPS and 21 home runs – are ones the Phillies are hoping he can find a duplicate.

Less than a month ago, Ibanez was hitting .240 with a .328 OBP and .721 OPS with six home runs, 15 doubles, 36 RBI and 30 runs in 76 games. Over the next 22, he hit .350 with a .435 OBP and .972 OPS. That stretch included six doubles, three homers, 13 RBI and 17 runs.

The result, as of the start of last night’s game against the Nationals, was a .263 average, .349 on-base percentage, and .773 OPS.”

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