Pride in the Phillies?

Jimmy RollinsThe Phillies have looked lifeless for much of the first 28 games of the season.

That lifelessness is pretty easily explainable, if you ask me.

They enter tonight’s game against the Marlins ranked 26th in baseball in scoring, averaging a measly 3.57 runs per game. It is impossible to look energetic or lively when nobody is on base or scoring runs. But after the Indians outscored the Phillies, 20-2, in a couple blowout losses this week at Progressive Field, Cliff Lee made an interesting comment about the team’s play.

“They pretty much pounded us both games, there’s no way around it,” he said. “They crushed us both games. It was never really close, either one of them. We have to have a little more pride than that and figure out a way to at least get back into games and make it somewhat competitive. Both games, it was never close.”

Pride, huh?

Asked this afternoon about Lee’s comments on MLB Network’s “The Rundown Live,” Jimmy Rollins said, “It’s back and forth. It’s tough to put a finger on it. There are times we come out and the energy’s there behind us and you go out there and play and we go out there and perform as a team. Then there are games and series where it’s just like we’re stuck in neutral. Not going forward, not going back but not getting going at all. And that’s the thing that we can’t have. On the field, we go out there every single day. Guys are coming in early to prepare. I’m even getting there much earlier than you remember, to prepare. But it just isn’t happening all the time on the field. The good thing is, we have a long way to go. We’ve just got to make sure we take advantage of it and take what we do in practice into the game and we’ll be okay.”

Charlie Manuel said a lack of pride, leadership and effort are not the reasons why the Phillies have been unable to get on a roll. He pointed to their success in a weekend sweep against the Mets. They won because they played well, not because they cared more. No, he said, the losing is more about the team simply playing poorly the first month of the season. For what it’s worth, I agree. This team is loaded with veterans, MVPs, Cy Young winners, All-Stars and postseason MVPs. I don’t think they want to be losers. I think they care. I just think they’re playing very, very poorly.

The real question should be this: Are they simply having a slow start or are they just this bad? Manuel’s teams are habitually slow starters. From 2005-12, they are 370-341 (.520) before the All-Star break, which is 11th in baseball. They are 357-228 (.610) after the All-Star break, which is second. I think this team needs a little more time. But like I blogged earlier today, they only have a couple more months. They have to be moving in the right direction come July or you’ll see some of this team’s top talent elsewhere.

17 Comments

As a fan watching every game, you can feel the energy as you watch the game on television. That’s how palpable it is if you’re turned on to the team. It’s frustrating to watch but you can actually predict if they’re going to have a good night or not. If it’s frustrating to us, it’s definitely frustrating for them I know. The question is why? Why?

Maybe Lee should just concentrate on his end by not allowing the Phillies to sink into a dark hole every time he pitches.

He has had 2 bad outings, he was the most effective pitcher we had leading into his last 2 starts. When your offense is getting blanked more often than not recently, it tends to make the pitchers press a bit. Wait, didn’t we go through this last year?

Bottom line, everybody needs to step it up on a consistent basis for the next few months or Zolecki is right, we might see a different team come August.

Most effective pitcher? Ever heard of damning with faint praise? Two bad outings and two so-so outings comes down to two good outings. He has averaged less than 7 innings per game while averaging over 100 pitches per game.

So I suppose you’re saying that his start against the reds was just a “so-so” outing? Just to make sure we are referencing the same thing, you are talking about the outing in which he pitched 6 scoreless innings before finally making the 2 mistakes that allowed them to score the only 2 runs they got off him? You know, the outing that he scattered 5 hits over 7 innings, only walked 1 batter, and averaged around 13 pitches per inning.

Which brings me to my next point. And that is that your argument that he is averaging slightly over 100 pitches per start, and that it is somehow very high, is a bit of a reach. He has thrown 635 pitches in 6 starts, which comes out to be just under 106 pitches (105.8). He has also averaged 6.9 innings per start, so if you do the high level math, you get an average of just over 15 pitches per inning. Is that really high? No, it’s not.

You also gotta realize that his first 3 starts were in the “quality start” category, being that he surpassed 6 innings and gave up 3 or less runs in each of them. And I also wouldn’t just say that his first 2 starts were “good”, they were exceptional, especially his first start against the braves where he threw 8 shutout innings on just 2 hits, not allowing a walk, all while striking out 10. Then his second start he nearly completed the game (and certainly could have), going 8.2 innings, giving up 3 runs (only 2 ER) on 8 scattered hits and not walking anybody again.

Hell, Nolan Ryan himself considers any start where the pitcher goes 7+ innings and allows 3 or less runs a “high quality start”.

Really, what I was initially arguing was you saying “Maybe Lee should just concentrate on his end by not allowing the Phillies to sink into a dark hole every time he pitches.”, because I think I have blown that statement right out of the water.

In conclusion, I would give him 2 exceptional outings, 1 very good outing, 1 “so-so” outing, and 2 bad outings. So I stick by everything I originally said.

Poorly constructed team, too much loyalty to guys over the hill, and not enough of an investment in the farm. I’ll be a fan until the day I die, but they make it tough sometimes.

Agreed, other than the Mets series it has been awful tough to watch.

I do think they have the lineup to produce more runs than they have been, they just need to work on their approach as a team and that will help them become more consistent.

Look at last night, Bauer very well could have given up 10 walks, but 4 of his 6 walks were drawn from Utley (2) and Nix (2). They had the right approach, not many others did though. Then if you can’t capitalize on the walks you get, it becomes very discouraging, making things even worse.

This is a problem that originated in 2010. They come out with either efficient production or nothing at all. Sparingly are they grinding out games these days. More often than not, if the opposing club puts up the crooked number, its a wrap. Sad to see. It’s a testament to the combination of passion + talent + leadership. One of these elements have left this club. Which one and why?

It’s the passion, IMO, at least not on an everyday basis. You really can tell a difference when they are into the game and working the counts and getting pitches to hit, which allows more of the passion to flow. It just seems like once things start going south, it has become harder and harder to break out of the funk.

The Phils had three hits last night and look very poor on offense a lot of the games that we’ve seen in April, and the first day of May. You just can’t win ballgames with an offense that doesn’t look motivated like this team does.

Time after time there is good starts from the Phils aces, and when they don’t have a good night, people want to lay the blame all on them for the teams woes. Read Todd’s first paragraph the offense is ranked near the bottom of the league.

In today’s blog post over at my Phils website, at http://www.fightinphillies.com – I ask the question is this team just begging to be broken up this year?

The only pitcher I see stringing multiple good starts together is Kendrick and he is not even considered one of the aces. Hamels, Lee and Halladay can’t put two good starts together among themselves without even getting into any one of them doing it individually.

I can hardly even follow that train of thought, but like I just said above, Lee had 3 in a row, and even Doc had 3 in a row. Hamels has been a bit of a surprise, but I think he will get it together soon enough.

I’ll give you 3 good starts each for Lee and Halladay and I’ll even throw in another 3 for Hamels. What does this leave for 3 “Aces”? How about a very generous 9 good starts in 18 starts for guys making in excess of $50 million a year. Just keep changing the lipstick on this pig and maybe it will not be a pig after all if only you can find the right shade.

They need a number of things or they have no shot at the playoffs. First off bring up De Fratus, Diekman and Stutes and release Valdez, Horst and Durbin. Don’t tell me they are not ready. Would you rather see three nibblers who throw 86 or 3 inexperienced young arms who can throw 95. The Phils are the only team who does not have a releif staff who ALL throw hard. Second, take more pitches. Charlie is wrong in his disdain for money ball. Howard should get at least 100 walks a year when uyou consider how many strikes he sees. Revere should be given the take sign. his selectivity for a punch and judy hitter is ridiculous.

I’ll agree on dropping Durbin and Valdes and bringing up Stutes but Diekman is terrible. They taught him to submarine in Reading thinking he could be a specialist but he’s basically abandoned that approach – he got rocked last year once teams saw him once or twice.

Amaro gave it his best shot, acquiring professionals, e.g., Michael Young, to drag his aging team over the finish line one last time. But the Phillies can’t build a winner out of spare parts. Time to rebuild from within, including Ryne Sandberg in the manager’s seat.

Time to clean house…from this sycophant writer to the front office, TV booth stooges, manager, pitching coaches and overpaid, do nothing for their salary, players. The sooner the house cleaning starts, the better.

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