It's A Big Series, But It's June

mets slide.jpgIt’s June.

No matter what happens this week between the Phillies and Mets at Citi Field, just remember it’s only June.

The Phillies could sweep the Mets to take a six-game lead in the National League East, but it does not guarantee anything.

If the Phillies can overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play in 2007, the Mets certainly can overcome a six-game deficit with more than 100 games to play. And if the Mets sweep the Phillies, it doesn’t mean the Phillies are in big trouble. The sky is not falling. It just means the Phillies played a bad series against a division rival in June.

You get the idea.

That is not to say the Phillies won’t be looking pretty good or feeling pretty good if they take 2 of 3 from the Mets this week. They will. And they should. It always feels good to win a series against a division rival, especially when that division rival is the Mets. But knowing the players in the clubhouse, they won’t be getting too high or too low this week. A lot can happen in 100 games.

Or just 17.

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Being a manager is more than just making out lineups and making pitching changes. It’s managing 25 different personalities in the clubhouse.

Charlie Manuel has had a knack for handling those personalities over the years. Why do I say this? Because you very rarely hear a player gripe about Manuel in the clubhouse. I heard that frequently during Larry Bowa‘s final two seasons. I hear it coming from other clubhouses, too. But Manuel seems to have the right touch. When to sit a player. When to stick with a player. That stuff plays up big in a clubhouse, where manager, coaches and teammates are together seven-plus weeks in Spring Training and over the course of a six-month season.

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It is easy to make a case for Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley to be National League All-Star starters.

Ibanez leads NL outfielders in home runs (19), RBIs (54), runs (46), hits (72) and slugging percentage (.676). He ranks fourth in hitting (.329), fifth in doubles (15) and seventh in on-base percentage (.386). Utley leads NL second basemen in runs (39), home runs (12), walks (37), on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.548). He is third in RBis (38), fourth in hitting (.296), and fifth in hits (55) and doubles (11).

But Jimmy Rollins, the NL’s leading vote getter at shortstop, is another matter. He ranks 12th out of 12 qualifying players in hitting (.222) and on-base percentage (.261) and 10th in slugging percentage (.322). He ranks second from the top in runs (34), third in doubles (13), sixth in hits (53), eighth in home runs (3) and ninth in RBIs (18).

What is interesting is that Rollins is getting some of his best fan support during one of his worst first-halves. He hasn’t been to the All-Star Game since 2005. Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein and Jose Reyes went in 2006. Reyes and J.J. Hardy went in 2007. Hanley Ramirez, Cristian Guzman and Miguel Tejada went in 2008. Rollins could have gone in 2006 and 2007 (he had no shot last season after suffering an ankle injury in April), but never went. Now in a season he is struggling, he might get to start. Go figure.

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10 Comments

While it’s true that it’s only June, a game in June is exactly as important as a game in September. The Phils missed the playoffs by 1 game in 2005, and that win could’ve come in April or August or whenever.

Rollins making the all star game over Hanley Ramirez would be an absolute joke, but then again, the All Star Game has always simply been a popularity contest, so who cares?

I absolutely love J-Roll and everything he brings. When he is hot, he’s 101 degrees in August hot. But Hanley Ramirez should start this year in St. Louis. They just don’t have the fans to drive the votes.
Is this finally the night the Fightin’s score a win off of Santana? Don’t count on it…

It would be extra sweet if the “rookie” Happ were to beat Santana! I think the Phils can take 2 out 3 from the Mutts.

Agree that Rollins although still an excellent defensive player this season, shouldn’t be on the all-star team. I hope Howard is on the team (although Pujols will likely be the starter) especially since its in his hometown.

Maybe voters are trying to make up for the years past when Rollins should have been an All-Star but wasn’t? Like his MVP year, for example. Jimmy will get back on track…no worries :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Agreed Jenn! Especially because the Allstar game always falls halfway through the year and only rewards those who start hot (or the consistently good). There is no allstar game after the 2nd half of the year when you could argue that good performance matters most toward propelling a team into the playoffs. And that is why when I vote I always look backwards to the 2nd half of the previous year as well as the . If JRoll or Ryan were playing bad defense or had bad attitudes right now, then I might hesitate. But considering how hot they were end of last year helping to lead the Phillies to the playoffs (they couldn’t have won the WS otherwise) + their OVERALL decent play so far this year (and in years past as you said), then they both get my votes.

Todd says this: “What is interesting is that Rollins is getting some of his best fan support during one of his worst first-halves.”……….

I’m not sure if anybody remembers this, but last year Rollins called the Philly fans front runners and spoke out about how we boo………..

Wouldn’t it be nice to see him go on the record and acknowledge the support he is getting from those same fans while he is really stinking it up?……….

I won’t hold my breath.

As far as this series against the Mets, I’d also like to see us take 2 out of 3, pick up a game on the Mets, and finish this trip on a good note. If we could, it would be tough to complain about a 7-3 road trip (went 8-2 on the last one—–odd that this is our second 10-game road trip already this year).
To that end, it’s good to see that Charlie is still on our guys and trying to keep them focused. Obviously the timing of his remarks is not coincidental.

Tim Redding went 4-1 against the World Champions last year. He faces Moyer on Thursday against pretty much the same lineup. Don’t count on that one, either.

J-Ro has really underperformed for his potential most of this year, that is agreed.
But could one argue that defense alone can get a player into the All-Star Game? Think of 15-time All Star Ozzie Smith, who only ONCE batted above .295 for a year (1987, .303)
Now, I’m not putting Rollins on the same class as The Wiz, but it’s something to consider.
The voting system is total bunk. It is obviously a popularity contest, just look at the Cubs last year or the Montreal Canadians in hockey this year.
My idea is to keep fan voting, but for everyone able to vote for the MVP on each team. This guarantees that each team is represented (an annoying rule) and the best (or at least most popular) player on each team is an All-Star.
Then have the manage/players vote fill out the rest.
The only issue I see with this plan is if all of the sudden there were 3 or more catchers that got voted in each league.

NEWS FLASH: just saw on philly.com that Lidge is on the 15 day disable list effective yesterday. Guess Madson will close??

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