Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Phillies Are A Mess (Part 2)
Allow me to bestow upon you the disaster that is the Philadelphia Phillies ...
Let me first start this by saying that in our MLB preview at The Bulletin, I picked the Phillies to finish first in the NL East. I thought the starting rotation (with 6 guys who could start) would be one of the best in the league (the Dodgers have the best by far) and that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard would continue to be the leaders both on and off the field. I bought into the whole "The Phillies are the team to beat" - thank you Jimmy Rollins.
Now Rollins has backed up his play on the field (he's batting .293 with 12 runs, 11 RBIs and six home runs ... not to mention completing the most exciting play in baseball - the inside-the-park home run), but the rest of the team has fallen asleep at the wheel.
Utley's batting only .222 while Howard is hitting a meager .213 with only one home run (granted he gets walked 50 percent of the time - 18 so far, but he's got to make the most of his opportunities). It's a sad day for a Phillies fan when you say the best hitters on the team right now are Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand.
And now what happens. Charlie Manuel throws a hissy fit at Howard Eskin (local radio personality) and maybe really blew a gasket because now we have Brett Myers in the bullpen as the setup guy and Jon Lieber back in the starting rotation. Good thing the Phils paid Adam Eaton $24 million over three years.
But the truth is, the pitching isn't the worst of it. Yes, the Phils don't have any kind of bullpen and the closer, Tom "Flash" Gordon could go down at any minute. But if you're not getting it done at the plate, you're not gonna win any games.
I applaud the "desperation" move, although don't necessarily agree with it. Something had to be done to shake up this ballclub. The sense of urgency needs to be back, and maybe this will help (although after the move, the first thing the Phils do is drop one to the Washington Nationals in extra innings).
But this is a typical Phillies April. Championships may be won in September and October, but you have to form that path in April. At 3-10 (now the worst record in the baseball), things are not looking good.