Manuel Is Concerned


manuel.jpgCharlie Manuel
expressed concern yesterday that he has seen differences in some players since the Phillies won the World Series.

“We’ve got some real good players,” he said. “We’ve got some very professional players. We’ve got some players that love the game just like they always did. But we’ve also got some guys who need to look back and think about how we got there and what we did to be a winning team. I think that sometimes you can do things to get away from the fact that the game is the first priority and winning the game is the first priority. The game counts more than anything.

“I’ve seen some differences in guys. I’ve seen some differences in the way guys go about their business. I’ve seen some differences in how they act. Cockiness sometimes is good, but it’s kind of how you handle things, too. I’ve seen some changes. I’ve seen differences in a lot of people around here, too.”

Have those differences contributed to the team’s 5-6 start? It’s hard to say. Ruben Amaro Jr. and Jimmy Rollins said they haven’t seen any differences in the team’s approach or hunger or desire since the season started.

A bigger factor in their slow start? The pitching. The Phillies have a 6.87 ERA, which is the worst in the National League. Brett Myers has been the team’s most effective starter with a 5.03 ERA. Jamie Moyer (6.55 ERA), Joe Blanton (9.00 ERA), Chan Ho Park (8.68 ERA) and Cole Hamels (11.17 ERA) have been worse. If the Phillies continue to pitch like that it’s not going to matter what kind of attitude the team carries into the clubhouse every day.

“You’re always concerned about your pitching when it starts off so poorly,” Amaro said. “They haven’t pitched well, but they are going to pitch better. I think these guys have enough experience and have had enough success in their careers that we’ll get back on track. And if we don’t then we’ll have to address it.”

But the big reason it is so difficult to tell what is ailing this team (attitude, complacency, poor pitching, disjointed schedule, etc.) is that this team always starts slowly. The Phillies are 5-6. They were 5-6 last season before they finally reached .500 at 11-10 on April 22. They were 4-11 in 2007 before they reached .500 at 25-24 on May 26. They started 2006 at 1-6. They started 2005 at 4-6.

The Phillies always start slowly, so it’s too early to draw any true conclusions about this team.

Let’s talk a month from now. If the team’s ERA is over 5 than we’ll know what’s up.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

17 Comments

I agree its too early to panic, but I do like Cholly trying to light a fire under the team’s collective rear. I’m sure things will turn around soon.

Not an excuse, but the team has a history of slow starts. Add the 3 Opening Day ceremonies, the Ring Ceremony, and HK’s death, and you’ve got major distractions.

With all that behind, hopefully the team will start “staying the course” now. Starting tonight!

I can’t help but believe that JRoll is one of the players Chollie is talking about. And I wonder if Cole is one of them? Apparently he is taking some responsibility (see attached article). It’s good to know that his start is not injury related.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_top_left_story/20090421_Cole_Hamels_takes_the_blame.html

I agree with you about J.Roll. Read the article in the Inky this morning, and was kind of annoyed that J.Roll complained about being tired after all the BP. Then, when Charlie called him up to pinch-hit, J.Roll wondered why he didn’t pick Cairo or Dobbs. Which might have been a legitimate question. But it sure worked out well!

That’s why Charlie is the manager, J.Roll!!!!

Jimmy better recognize that Charlie is talking about him, or he’ll be taking more BP and seeing less of the field.

Kudos to the Flying Hawaiian for receiving the Lou Gehrig award. A nice feather in his cap!

There is something to be said with the letdown in intensity because of the accomplishment and distractions. I agree with Norma, but if you look at this pitching staff, players are just teeing off on some pitchers. Maybe control and placing the ball will be worked on. Nobody is beyond instruction. I don’t think Park was the answer. Just look what we did to him last year. Look for Happ to get a start after Park’s next one. Maybe Eyre should get more innings compared to Madson. As for Lidge, I’m sort of glad that the streak is over. Some players came to spring training needing conditioning. What does that say about a professional athlete?

The Phillies are notorious slsow starters, so I think they ‘re going to be fine. But I think the ptchiing staff has to get it together soon, becasue they are not giving the tem any chance to win thsoe games by the way they are ptiching right now. Phillies have a great offense, but you cna’t keep putting them in a hole every single game.

The Phillies have given up at least 4 runs in every game so far. The pitching is obviously the problem. Conversely, the Pirates already have four shutouts. The Pirates!!!

Starting pitchers are usually creatures of habit. Pitching regularly with 4/5 days off is the norm. Remember last year when Cole struggled everytime he had an extra day off, claiming that it messed up his routine? This year he pitches once a week after recovering from tightness in his elbow. We might as well have a 7-man starting rotation for all the good it’s doing our 5-man pitching rotation. Moreover, Ruiz’s injury is probably causing some of the confusion the pitchers have with pitch-calling.Compounding matters, the Phils were cursed with an over-light schedule in the first week, side-tracked by celebrations, ceremonies, and tragedies, and shutdown by rainouts. I am amazed how good they have been when considering all the extenuating circumstances that have workedtoward setting them back. They are still together and fighting hard for each other. They have 5 come from behind victories!! Just think, they could easily be 0-11 now! Let’s stay positive everyone!! GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bottom line… Phils bats are above average. Phils relief is above average.
The starting pitching is terrible. They’ve given up waaaay too many home runs early and getting buried and burned out quickly. The scary part for me is that this isn’t really a fly-ball sort of rotation unless you add Park in the mix. I agree that we’ll see Happ sooner than we think.

Another home run in the first inning… Seriously… it has to stop!

Well, after the Brewer’s HR, the rest of the game was sure fun! Didn’t even mind sitting out the hour + rain delay. Yes. I was one of the couple hundred who stayed. LOL!

Wonder if Charlie talked to J.Roll, or if he got the message somehow. Two hits! At one point I yelled….Everybody hits! Then remembered that Howard was 0-fer. Oh well.

Norma, was wondering if you stuck around after the rain delay what with the Phils having such a large lead late in game. Glad you saw such a good night offensively and also a good outting by Moyer. Maybe Cholly’s statement on those who were be a bit of a “slacker” paid off. Nice to see the Phils being patient at the plate, taking advantage of defensive errors, and also so-so pitching by the Brew crew.

Those two runs scored on the wild pitch and throwing error were a riot! We were screaming so loud, you would have thought someone hit a grand slam. LOL!

Forgot to mention my new favorite cheer is “RAUL!!!” Love how the fans seemed to have embraced Ibanez. He’s so far been a great addition. Couldn’t believe he stole a base!!

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful
lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could
space it out better?

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