They Are Who We Thought They Were
“Honestly, the standings and all that stuff make no difference right now. What we did in ’07 and ’08 coming down the stretch, we made up a lot of games in not a whole lot of time. There’s no reason to worry or get too upset. We’re the same team that’s done what we’ve done the last three or four years here, and I think some people need to remember that.”
In other words, the Phillies do this every year so why flip out?
The Phillies just swept the Indians. They have won six of their last eight games. They enter this weekend’s series against the Blue Jays just 2 1/2 games behind the Braves and just 2 games behind the Mets in the NL East – and that’s after playing poorly for more than a month. Now I’m not saying the worst is behind the Phillies. I’m not saying they’re making the playoffs. But the panicking over the offense — Make a trade! Release somebody! Call up Domonic Brown! — that seemed crazy to me a couple weeks ago seems a little sillier today.
Werth is hitting .857 (6-for-7) with one home run and three RBIs in his past two games, and .395 (15-for-38) with two doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs and eight walks in 12 games since June 10. Combine his recent turnaround with Chase Utley hitting .394 in his last nine games, Ryan Howard hitting .417 in his last six games, Raul Ibanez hitting .300 in his last 14 games, and Jimmy Rollins returning to the lineup, and it’s easy to understand why the Phillies are playing better.
Slumps happen, folks.
Derek Jeter was hitting .189 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 43 games through May 25, 2004. Everybody in New York freaked. He hit .336 with 20 homers and 61 RBIs the rest of the season to finish at .292. Mark Teixeira hit .191 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 29 games through May 12 last season. He hit .315 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs the rest of the way. And who can forget that Rollins hit just .205 with six homers and 27 RBIs through 70 games last season? He hit .288 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs the rest of the way — his .334 on-base percentage and .510 slugging percentage better than his career average.
And let’s not forget this: the Phillies are a second half team under Charlie Manuel. They were 229-217 (.513) before the All-Star break from 2005-09, which ranked 11th in baseball. They were 218-146 (.599) after the All-Star break, which ranked third in baseball and first in the National League.
I’m not saying it will happen again, but until they don’t there is no reason to think it won’t.