Who Are The Phillies Really?
They have not been in last place this late in a season since July 8, 2005.
Thirteen times the Phillies had a chance to move to .500. They lost eight times. Six times they had a chance to move over .500. They lost every time. This is a team that boasts Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in its rotation. It has Jonathan Papelbon as its closer. It has Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz in its lineup.
It feels like the Phillies are just waiting for the winning streak to happen because it has happened in the past. Like they are entitled to good things because of their recent successes.
Worry? Why worry? We’ve won five consecutive National League East championships.
At times it also feels like they are waiting for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to save the day. But like Jayson Werth correctly pointed out this weekend in DC, the Phillies aren’t the only team that is banged up. Before Werth broke his wrist Sunday, the Nationals were in first place without Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. Imagine the Nationals lineup when those three and Werth are back.
Where does Bryce Harper hit then?
Maybe this is who the Phillies are. Maybe they are no better than a .500 team. (I’ve been waiting for Charlie Manuel to gather his team and say something, but so far that hasn’t happened.) If the Phillies are a winning team they need to start playing like one quickly. The July 31 trade deadline gets closer every day. If I’m Ruben Amaro Jr. and my team is no better than .500 come mid-July, I’d seriously consider trading some of my more valuable talent in an attempt to reload for 2013.
The Phillies have committed too much money to be a loser. This cannot continue.
A few observations on Hamels-Harper: It was a slap on the wrist for Hamels, who almost certainly will pitch Sunday. But because he admitted it MLB had to punish him. … If you read between the lines, Amaro basically said he had no problem with what Hamels did, but wished he had not admitted it. I think that’s why he said he supported MLB’s decision, but when asked specifically about the purpose pitch to Harper, he declined comment. … I’m not sure what was more over the top, Mike Rizzo‘s comments or his assistant GM’s comments. Nationals assistant general manager Harolyn Cardozo told The Washington Post, “If Cole Hamels wants a dog fight, he met a junkyard dog in Mike Rizzo.” What is that?!?!?!?!?! Are Hamels and Rizzo going to fight in the parking lot after school? … I read a lot of comments/columns about Hamels trying to send a message to a 19-year-old rookie. In my opinion, he wasn’t trying to send a message to Harper at all. Yes, Hamels said, “Welcome to the big leagues,” but I think he wanted to send a message to both teams. He wanted to tell the Nationals that the Phillies are going to fight, and he wanted to tell the Phillies to show some fight. … That said, if the pitch was supposed to fire up the Phillies it certainly didn’t carry into last night’s game.
Werth crushed Phillies fans because some of them cheered and mocked him when he walked off the field Sunday after breaking his wrist. If that’s true that’s awful. I’ve always thought the disdain for Werth for leaving Philadelphia and taking a $126 million contract from the Nationals is absurd, considering the Phillies only offered $48 million. If you tell me you would have turned down $78 million I’m telling you I don’t believe you. Werth has said some critical things of Phillies fans in the past, but he also has raved about them. Take the good with the bad. And I understand Werth plays for a division rival, so he will get booed. I don’t care about that. But it’s like his contributions to Philadelphia have been completely forgotten. It makes me wonder how Phillies fans will behave toward Hamels if he signs with another team.
Speaking of Hamels, does anybody else find it funny that saying something stupid Sunday has made him a truer Philly athlete? He was the World Series MVP for cryin’ out loud! I heard winning is the only thing that matters in this town, but it took this for some fans to finally embrace him? Wow.
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:
- Thursday: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
- June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- June 16: Barnes & Noble, 4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del., 2:00 p.m.