Exactly how Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki worded it in his blog post title after the Phillies lost another downer, 5-2.
Zo posted up on his site a few quotes from Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay, closer Jonathan Papelbon and All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz. Each talked about their current state at the season’s midway point as well as how this team can rebound.
Currently the Phillies are 36-45 and 11 games out of first. This is the team’s worst record through the first 81 games since going 23-58 to start the 1997 season.
With half a season left, some of the team’s biggest names are still keeping their heads up. There is plenty of time left in the season and there is an extra playoff spot this year.
“It’s up to us. It really is,” said Halladay, who is still on the DL. “We can tuck our tails or we can fight. There’s a chance we fight and still come up short, but I’d rather do it that way than admit defeat halfway through the year. I think we’ve got a long ways to go. Getting Chase (Utley) back, Howie’s (Ryan Howard) coming back, I feel like I can pitch better.”
The All-Star closer Papelbon didn’t expect his first season with the Phillies to exactly go this way. Signing here in the offseason because he wanted to add to his ring collection, Papelbon has been one of the lone bright spots on the Phillies despite a poor team effort.
Papelbon was in a similar situation last season with the Red Sox, who rallied back to miss the playoffs on the last day.
“I was in a situation where a team was down nine games with a month to go (last season),” Papelbon said in reference to the Red Sox. “So if you want to ask me that question, I say, hey, there’s still plenty of time. Some adjustments have to be made, yeah. But there’s no reason to throw in the towel or wave the white flag by any means. By any means. I think everyone in here knows what we need to do. You know, little things win baseball games.”
But it’s still a difficult thing to go through with, said Ruiz, who is having the best season of his career. He’s leading the league in hitting and in the top five in onbase and slugging percentage, OPS and has a career high 11 homers already.
“You know, it’s hard, man,” Ruiz said. “I think we try so hard. But I can tell you one thing. I think everything is going to change at one point. That’s what I feel. We have to put it together, we have to keep fighting and see what happens.”
Ruiz was then asked why it’s going to change and he said, “I don’t think its going to be like this all year, I don’t think so. I know that’s baseball and it’s hard. We have to keep fighting.”
The Phillies aren’t in any position to give up now. But they know they have a lot of work to do to improve if they want to rebound and make the playoffs.
“We’ve got a lot of things that can improve that I think we’re looking forward to in the second half,” Halladay said. “I believe we have the mentality that we’re going to go out and play hard. If we come up short we come up short, but I don’t think it’s going to be due to a lack of effort or a lack of interest. I feel like we have a chance and we’re going to go out and play that way.”