No Boost Here

The Phillies and their fans had been pointing to last night since Spring Training.

Wait until Chase Utley and Ryan Howard get back.

Just wait.

But reality should have hit everybody in the face harder than Brian McCann hit that grand slam against Antonio Bastardo in last night’s 5-0 loss to the Braves. No two players can save a baseball team. They can help — they can be a huge help, actually – but they can’t do it alone. This isn’t basketball, where one player can take over a game night after night after night (see the Cavaliers with and without LeBron James). This isn’t football, where the quarterback’s play can elevate a team (see the Colts with and without Peyton Manning). There are many more pieces in play in baseball, which explains why the Phillies are 1-8 since Utley’s return and why Howard couldn’t make a difference last night, despite going 2-for-4 with a double.

The Phillies are 37-48, the first time they have been 11 games under .500 since June 5, 2002.

(Randy Wolf, Ricky Bottalico and Dan Plesac pitched in the Phillies’ 2-1 loss to the Marlins at Veterans Stadium that day. Jimmy Rollins doubled to score Doug Glanville in the third inning for the Phillies’ only run.)

The Phillies are 13 games behind the Nationals in the National League East. Even if the Nationals (48-33) finish 41-40 for 89 wins, the Phillies would need to finish 52-25 (.675) just to tie. If the Nationals keep their current pace, they would finish 96-66. The Phillies would need to finish 59-18 (.766) to tie.

But what about the Wild Card? There are two this year, which helps. The Phillies are nine games behind the Reds, who would be the second Wild Card winner. The Reds are on pace for 87 wins. The Phillies would need to finish 50-27 (.649) to tie. Now, the Phillies have been a very good second-half team under Charlie Manuel, playing .600 or better ball in five of the past seven seasons after the All-Star break. But only once have they played at a .649 clip or better, when they went 50-25 (.667) in 2010.

Howard said last night the Phillies just need to worry about winning series at this point. That would be a start, but you have to wonder if just winning series before the July 31 trade deadline will be enough to convince the front office not to sell? If the Phillies win every series between now and the trade deadline they will be 49-53 (.480).

Again, that’s if they win every series. No slip ups.

The Phillies need to start winning series, but they also need to sweep a few here and there. Maybe that first series after the break in Colorado. Maybe that home series against the Brewers July 23-25. If they did that and won every other series they would be 51-51 before the deadline.

Tall task? Absolutely. Impossible. Not impossible. But right now there is little reason to believe this team can play that way. Of course, stranger things have happened. Remember the end to the 2007 season. Remember how far back the Cardinals and Rays were late last season. Anything can happen. But those comebacks also are exceptions to the rule. There are many, many, many more teams in baseball history that were this far back and never made a comeback.

Do these Phillies have one good run in them? What do you think?

26 Comments

Please stop this dreaming. It is not just number of games behind but also number of teams. When division teams play each other someone has to win. If the Nats falter the Braves or Mets will rise. There will be no playoffs for the Phillies in 2012. Question is will there be pitching in 2013?

Bob, I tried to tell them that 6 weeks ago and they shot me down. It’s hard to leap frog teams to get ahead, but the concept is foreign to some of the geniuses who comment here.

The point you and your fellow Einstein seem to miss is the power of winning. I have looked high and low and I’ll be damned if I can find that pesky “Leap Frog” stat.

With the bullpen as is, there is no way this team can play at that pace. They’ll be lucky to win 80 games with these guys throwing gasoline on the fire. Bastardo needs to be sent down immediately. He is a total liability. One good game followed by a couple AWFUL ones. He’s your 8th inning guy? Sad.

pherris: Winning isn’t the point when you have so many teams to overcome. The Phillies would have to win at a .620 pace to get to Washington even if the Nationals played .500 ball. Counting on 7 other teams to do the same thing is THE POINT. In September, they all play each other, which makes it harder to leap frog (yes) 7 teams. Somebody has to win.
I’m sorry you can’t figure that out.

That’s easy to say now, muleman, but you were just flat out wrong when you posited the same thing 6 weeks ago. 6 weeks ago the Phillies were a game over .500 and there were around 110 games left in a very long season. If the Phillies had been able to stay in the .500 range between then and now, they would be in about the same spot that a 9-10 game winning streak could erase in short order. It’s one thing to be 2-3 games behind 5-6 teams with 110 games left, and being 6-7 games behind everybody with about 75 games left. I’m sure even a Negadelphian like you didn’t foresee the meltdown over the last 6 weeks. That Halladay would go down, that Cliff Lee would take until a week before the All-Star game to win a single game, that the bullpen would be the absolute worst in the NL and that Jason Pridie could possibly be the first pinch hitter off the bench in any given game. I’m sure you knew all that back in the last week of May.

sorry but the real problem on this team is the bullpen. Last I checked Utley and Howard don’t pitch. Until they get the bullpen fixed, this run is over……

I never expected Chase or Ryan to turn this team around, said so back in May in comments on this very blog. I also said this team was going nowhere this year. But if Chase and Ryan can hold down their positions for the rest of this year, maybe that will give the front office some leeway to tackle the most pressing problem without worrying about position players. Namely, the dreadful bullpen. But at this point, the team needs to be thinking about next year and beyond, not “salvaging” the season by somehow slipping into the playoffs via a 2nd Wild Card only to get hammered by superior teams. They need to think big. I’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. The rest of this season is basically extended spring training for Chase, Ryan, and Halladay to get right and healthy, and for tryouts to be in the bullpen for next year.

What’s the over/under on the end of the sellout streak at CBP? I live down south, so I don’t get to go to games much any more (once every other year), but I wouldn’t pay to go see very many games this year at the prices they want even if I still lived in the area. Surely, the streak ends in August.

Kind of a moot point anyway, half the stadium was empty and most of them left eraly. Not real fans I guess. Real fans stay to the end of the game.

Real fans stay till the end of the game? What does that say about fans who never even make it to a game?

Oh yeah. Real fans wait until the last out and suffer. If I want to spend my free time some other way than watching bad baseball I’m going to do it. I still pay for my tickets. I still pay for my parking. I still buy my kids ice cream at the ballpark. I’m a fan if I stay all nine or if I leave after the seventh.

Getting rid of Bastardo puts a bandaid on a gushing wound. They have no real options for the eigth inning. Their other problems are Pence who can’t judge a good pitch from a bad one, and turds like Juan Samuel who can’t make an on-field decision to save his life.

This season is done. Stop hoping and start trading.

Charlie lost that game last night. There was no reason to pull Kyle.

Correct. If Lee, Hamels or Halladay was pitching, Charlie would have left them in. His explanation was that he wanted a left-hander to get their lefties out. Well, Kendrick had been getting them out all night, so WTF? Why introduce a variable into something that was working?

get with reality, first problem is amaro and manuel, amaro signing these over rated stars to long term contracts and killing the farm system, 4 years ago all charlie had to do was sign the scorecard now he has to manuel and he can’t, why he took out kendrick after 89 pitches when he doesn’t have to pitch again in 2 or 3 weeks, then he brings in that piece of sh_t, and first he shane in the 2 hole who has his bags pack, when pierre should have been there. hamels, shane, pence and lee should be traded for enough players to start to rebuilt, by the way stub hub will be selling tickets for ten dollars by august 1st.

Tickets are already dirt cheap on Stubhub. No need to wait for August.

Trade Hamels and Lee? Who is going to be our ace? Oh yes, I forgot Halladay, how silly of me.

That’s great. You mention a player you “forgot” in your comment. You’re right, you are silly.

Mr. Zolecki, once again you sound not like an independent decent journalist, but like a shill for management, and Mr. Manuel in particular. Don’t give us this…. about we expected too much from the return of two star players — when you guys have been the ones who for months kept telling us the latest of their return.

More to the point, do you have the INDEPENDENCE, the INTEGRITY, to point out the obvious about last night — and dozens of other games since last year…. that the most serious problem with the Phillies right now is at the top — in the seat of the Manager. Last night’s decision to yank KK at only 89 pitches (well under a standard you so often used last year to defend when Magoo would yank a pitcher) when he was throwing the best game of his season was inexcusable. Then keeping Bastardo in when he couldn’t hit the backside of the barn — three walks — was also an inexcusable coaching mistake.

And yet you keep silent.

Proof positive that you guys really DO write at the pleasure of Phillies management. (never mind the boilerplate to the contrary)

Go ahead Reverund, I dare you to prove me wrong…. I dare you to comment on Mr. Manuel’s coaching last night. Every other sportwriter in Philadelphia is yelling about it? Why do you keep silent? Is this from the Faux News school of thought that says, “if you can’t say something nice about the folks you (de facto) work for, then keep silent”

Havaiwill, no one cares about what you care about. Why don’t you just start your own MLB Blog and vent that way. That would save the rest of us from reading the crap you post….

Can’t decide which is more fun, hitting against Meat Blanton or getting into the Frillies bullpen again.

BillyBob, funny that there is no record of any BillyBob having hit against Joe Blanton. But in my Google search I did read about a BillyBob down around Valdosta way who was arrested for hitting on his grandmother’s cow during a family picnic. Would that be you er jus one of yer kinfolk, BillyBob?

Well as usual the Phillies fans are true to form. Hit a lady with a Braves hat on in the head with a bottle. Class act you guys. I guess if you suck at baseball you have to resort to violence. Oh and you know what was so sad about your run of 5 Division Championships, you ONLY won 1 WS. So sad.

Wow, you figured out that the writer for the official Phillies Web Site is paid by the Phillies (or MLB which is the same thing). Aren’t you a genius.

Zippy, how about 14 straight and only one championship?….glass houses….stones….

You can talk **** all you want, but look in the mirror first before you make certain comments. (LOL)

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