Going into this post, I really didn’t know what I wanted to write. So a fair warning: this is me babbling incoherently about how awful the Phillies are and how the fact the sky is falling. Ready, Go!
I want to panic with the Phillies 31-37 record following a sweep in Toronto and 3-6 road trip. I want to panic with the Phillies being nine games out of first place and in last place of the division.
But it’s June with just over 90 games to play on the season and the Phillies will be getting back Chase Utley in at the most two weeks. Surely with that allotted amount of time left in the season and with the health of the team bound to improve fans shouldn’t be jumping ship yet.
It’s easier said than done and it has sent the Phillies into an early panic mode, at least it should.
The Phillies are still without their Big Three. Utley will be back in two weeks at the latest, Ryan Howard is still a mystery and Roy Halladay still has over a month to go before a return becomes possible.
The former two can boost the Phillies offense greatly. Granted they have been producing runs the past month and a half, there is still a lot of inconsistency throughout the line up that is relying on a bunch of aging vets, wash-ups and fringe players.
In fact, the hottest hitter in the Phillies lineup the past nine games will be relegated back to the bench starting tomorrow. Jim Thome hit .333 on the nine-game American League road trip as the Phillies designated hitter, but Charlie Manuel will not start him at first base because his back cannot handle the strain.
Carlos Ruiz, the offense’s only All-Star hitter (.354 AVG, 8 HR, 35 RBI), is taking more lumps than he should behind the plate. He’s been bowled over twice, hit by a pitch a league-leading 10 times and has missed nine games (and 19 starts) this season due to injury.
Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, who have greatly underperformed this season when they were supposed to be the hitters producing in Utley and Howard’s absence.
Then there’s Halladay’s injury, which has left the rotation, dubbed to be the Phillies saving point, in shambles.
Vance Worley isn’t going to be healthy until post-season surgery, Cliff Lee can’t win a game, Cole Hamels has been struggling and Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick are a bag of mystery when they take the mound.
As for the bullpen, only Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon have been successful in their roles. Michael Schwimer has been up and down, Chad Qualls has been absolute garbage, Jose Contreras is out for the season and Joe Savery and Jake Diekman are unreliable lefties.
The good news is that the Phillies can’t get any lower than they have already. Sure they can only look up but better baseball needs to be played and guys need to get healthy for that to happen.
By the time that happens, it could be too late.