Manuel Is Concerned
“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.