Is There Time to Right the Ship?
It’s tough to blame them. The Phillies have the best record in baseball, but have played like the Houston Astros since clinching the National League East on Saturday. They have looked deader than dead, losing six consecutive games and getting swept in their first three- or four-game series since Aug. 2010.
The Phillies have six games to play before Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 1.
“That’s definitely enough time, but we do have to pick it up,” Charlie Manuel said. “It’s time for us to kick it and get ready for the playoffs.”
If you watched tonight’s ugly loss you know Roy Oswalt pitched much better than his line indicated. He looks ready for the postseason. But the offense looks like it’s in the early stages of spring training. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley were a combined 0-for-36 with five walks in the series against the Nationals.
“I’ll give a bat to anybody that boos and if they want to go up to the plate and think it’s that easy I’ll be glad to give them my bat,” Victorino said. “We hear the frustration from the crowd. They’re deserving and (they have the right to) feel frustration, but as a player you can’t sit there and mope about it.”
It hasn’t helped the Phillies have been without Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence. Howard will be back in the lineup tomorrow night in New York. He will not play Saturday, but Manuel said he will turn Howard loose Sunday. Pence should be back Saturday.
Maybe that gets them going. Maybe the Phillies can just flip the switch.
Oswalt doesn’t sound like he’s a big believer in “flipping the switch.”
“I’ve seen teams with the best record get beat in the first round,” Oswalt said. “It’s really the hottest team going in. Hopefully the next six games we’ll turn it around and start playing a little bit better, but teams that are hot when the playoffs start are tough to beat.”