The Perfect Storm
There have been mental mistakes upon physical mistakes. They have not swung the bats well at times. The starters can’t get past the sixth inning and the bullpen looks exhausted. The exhaustion is one thing. It has been a long week. (I punch buttons on a keyboard for a living and I’m tired.) But Manuel was asked if he feels he needs to address his team about the sloppy play.
“I’ve been thinking about that for two or three days if you want to know the truth,” he said. “But at the same time with the way things are — we’re kind of beat up, we’ve got guys out, we come back in a game like we did today — I don’t know if that’s the right time to go in there and start screaming and hollering and cussing and throwing things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m headed that way, I guess. But I ain’t quite there yet. Maybe somebody ought to push me into it. But, no, I’ll get it when the time comes.”
The Phillies are banged up. They placed Raul Ibanez, the team’s MVP through 64 games, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. They’re hopeful Ibanez will be back on July 3, when he is eligible to be activated, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said it could be longer. The Phillies already are without No. 2 starter Brett Myers, closer Brad Lidge and left-handed specialist Scott Eyre.
Combine those things – the injuries, the extra-inning games, the rain delays, the mental and physical mistakes – with the return of the American League and no wonder the Phillies have lost 5 of 6.
But doesn’t this seem familiar?
The Phillies entered Interleaugue Play last year at 41-30 with a three-game lead over the Mets. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Angels swept them at home. Then they lost 4 of 6 on the road in Oakland and Texas.
The Phillies entered Interleague Play this year at 35-23 with a four-game lead over the Mets. They had won 10 of 13. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Blue Jays swept them at home. They host the Orioles this weekend before they hit the road to play the Rays and Blue Jays.
“We’ve had some mental mistakes over the last couple days,” Ryan Howard said. “You just can’t have that. You’d rather have it now than later obviously, but it is what it is.”
What it is is a perfect storm for losing. The Phillies just hope they can weather it through their remaining nine Interleague games.
Rod Barajas had the last laugh.
He hit a game-winning homer in the ninth against Ryan Madson in yesterday’s 8-7 victory. Barajas, one of Philly’s most disliked athletes in recent seasons, is 8-for-16 with four homers and 10 RBIs against the Phillies since he left them following the 2007 season.
“I hear them,” Barajas said of Phillies fans. “I laugh at them. I joke around with [Chris] Coste or [Carlos] Ruiz, whoever is back there. When I go up to hit, Coste is booing me, too.”
Posts might be a little infrequent this weekend because of a family affair, but I will when I can.