Will May Be Any Better?

Cliff Lee, Carlos RuizThe Phillies turned the calendar to May yesterday, but found the same uninspired play as they showed most of April.

The Indians beat them last night, 6-0, to outscore them 20-2 in the two-game series. The Phillies spoke of the Indians, who are fifth in baseball in scoring (5.04 runs per game) and third in OPS (.799), like they were the ’27 Yankees. Hot. Unstoppable. They hit seven homers Tuesday, but scattered seven infield hits to help them win last night. They took advantage of their opportunities, while most Phillies fans felt like they could turn the channel after the fourth inning both nights because they knew the Phillies weren’t going to make a game of it.

Those feelings weren’t misplaced.

“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,” Cliff Lee said. “Both games, it was never close.”

Phillies fans are frustrated, and understandably so. These games have been tough to watch. The Phillies are 26th in scoring (3.57 runs per game) and 26th in OPS (.679). This is not what the Phillies said would happen with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard healthy. But they have been no magic cure because other players need to hit, too. Phillies outfielders have a .601 OPS, which is the worst mark in baseball. They have grounded into 25 double plays. That ranks only ninth in baseball, but they rank fifth in GIDP percentage (14.2 percent). They are 5-13 in games started by Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee.

The good news? It is early, technically. We’ve seen the Phillies play poorly at the beginning of the season in the past. It might be tough, but give them another couple months. If they’re playing like this in late June, it likely means they will be way behind in the standings. And if that is the case, I suspect Ruben Amaro Jr. will hold another fire sale. And if you thought last year’s was big with Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton, this one could (re: should) dwarf that. I mean, why hold onto a bunch of players with value or entering the final years of their contracts. That means Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, Delmon Young, Halladay, Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams could be trade candidates. In the meantime, there simply is little to be done other than hope they finally start playing well.

The Phillies will have a chance to get healthy with a four-game series against the Marlins beginning tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Anything less than three wins is a disappointment. The Marlins (8-20) are a terrible team, regardless of the fact that “any team wearing big-league uniforms has a chance to win,” as the cliche goes. The Phillies are at home, playing against a very, very bad team without their only star player, slugger Giancarlo Stanton. They should roll.

If they show a little more pride maybe they will.

9 Comments

When was the last time a GM was canned in the middle of a season? I ask because the last person I would want conducting a Phillies fire sale is Ruin. That would be like trusting the arsonist to put out the fire he started.

All the energy you spent over on the Braves blog bashing Braves transactions… waaaaa

Far from bashing Braves’ transactions, I praise them. Had the Braves not signed BJ Upton, there was a good chance Ruin Tomorrow would have, according to rumors, anyway. Any time the Braves dump 10% to 15% of their payroll for such a turkey is a win-win for the Phillies. Where is Upton hitting now? The 7th hole?

17-10

Weinus, maybe you should go back to talking about attendance. Couple more years like this and that Frilly BankBall park will be looking like a morgue

I’d hesitate to get rid of guys like Chooch, Utley, Lee, and Rollins only because they’re fan favorites and they’re franchise guys (minus maybe Lee). I know you can’t conduct business based on fan reaction but if these guys are part of the reason folks come out to the ballpark I’d be worried about attendance dipping even more. A bad team is one thing, a bad team with no franchise players is worse in my opinion.

There will be no fire sale. The Phils MUST be good next year, even if it means a 200M+ payroll. At the end of next season the Phils TV deal is up. A bidding war is expected as Fox wants the Phils on their new network with the Yanks. Early estimates have a 5B dollar deal going down which will bring in 200M/yr in TV money alone.(They currently get about 30M/yr). So next season’s TV ratings will be a HUGE matter. Fielding a crappy/rebuilding team next year could cost them a billion or more. Unless they are way out of it at the deadline, I think they will be buyers.

“The good news? It is early, technically. We’ve seen the Phillies play poorly at the beginning of the season in the past.”

I’m so friggin sick of hearing the “it’s early” excuse!! You know what, you can’t win a division in April, but you CAN lose it.

You’re absolutely right, we have seen the Phillies play poorly in the beginning of the season in the past. But let’s take a look historically of what that means for October:

In the Citizen’s Bank Park era, only ONCE have the Phillies played to a losing record in April and gone on to make the playoffs. That was in 2007, when it took a remarkable comeback AND an EPIC Mets collapse. Aside from that, historically a losing April for the Phillies means no playoffs.

That doesn’t guarantee no playoffs, but the April Apologists need to just stop!

And aside from the “it’s early” excuse, the offense has been a KNOWN issue for what, at least 2 years or more! What makes ANYONE think it’s suddenly going to turn it on all of a sudden? The way Ruben has patched this team together like a ragged pair of jeans is laughable!

Overpaid and under performing….please start the purge ASAP!

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