It’s been a horrible week for the Phillies. Half of the starting infield is on the disabled list. Placido Polanco, the team’s most consistent hitter, will be out for three to four weeks with tendonitis, and Chase Utley could be out anywhere from eight to 12 weeks depending on which report you read. Carlos Ruiz has suffered a setback that will keep him off the field longer than originally anticpated, and now backup catcher Brian Schneider is hurt. Roy Halladay looked very un-Roylike as he gave up four runs and a career-high 13 hits in a loss to the Reds this past Wednesday, and JA Happ is struggling to return to form in AAA. And last night, the offense couldn’t scrape up more than two runs against a rookie pitcher with an ERA of 11.00. Sigh.
So what’s a die-hard Phillies fan to do now? Is there anything that we can cling to for hope as our Fightin’ Phils try to weather the storm?
I don’t know, but I’m sure going to try to find something.
The loss of Utley for a minimum of two months is devistating, especially with all of the other injuries that the Phillies have suffered. But they still have Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, and Raul Ibanez.
All five of these players have been All-Stars. Two of them were once league MVPs. Two of them earned Gold Gloves last season, and the other three had hit 30+ home runs in 2009. If the Phillies want to salvage their season, these five players have to step up and carry the team, and I think that they will now that their backs are against the wall.
The backups have been seeing the ball well as of late, which is encouraging. Wilson Valdez and Dane Sardinha each had two home runs within the past week, and even the ineffective Greg Dobbs had two hits last night. If the starters were hitting as well as the replacements, they would have won last night’s game.
But the Phillies can’t depend on the backups to keep playing over their heads. If Ruben Amaro, Jr and David Montgomery are serious about contending this year, they’ll need to open up the purse strings or offer up some prospects (short of Dom Brown) to plug the damn holes in the lineup. Is Arizona really having a fire sale? Because Dan Haren and Kelly Johnson would look great in red pinstripes. What’s Seattle’s return policy?
I just don’t think RAJ and the front office are ready to waive the white flag on this season yet. I’m optimistic that they’ll make some big moves before the trade deadline that will help the team win now. It won’t be cheap, but again, I’m open to anything that doesn’t involve trading Dom Brown. Cole and Heidi Hamels could use a change of scenery, couldn’t they? I hear it’s a dry heat in Phoenix. Does Seattle miss Raul? Perhaps eating some of his salary would help seal the deal.
That brings me back to Dom Brown. He’s now been deemed the top prospect in the minors and he’s been tearing up AAA in Lehigh Valley. I’ve got to believe that he’ll be brought up to the bigs sooner rather than later. Yes, I know that Ryan and Chase toiled for far too long in the minors, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Remember that it was an injury to Jim Thome during a wildcard chase that finally put the Big Piece in the lineup.
I’m not worried about pitching. Roy will be Roy again soon, and 47-year-old Jamie Moyer ™ has been nothing short of spectacular this year. Joe Blanton is returning to his mid-season form, and Cole is still better than last season despite his troubles in giving up the long ball. (Note to Cole–We don’t dig that.)
My last shred of hope is the schedule. The Phillies play the Mets and Braves six times a piece during the last month of the season. If they can keep it close in the standings by the time everyone is healthy, they can win the division again. That’s a big IF, but not an impossible IF.
So there you have it. I’m not thrilled with the Phillies situation and level of play right now, but I’m not ready to call it a season just yet. There are still some things that the Phillies can do in order to turn it around. But they need to do it soon.
Thanks to @M_OMalley for the epic photoshop.
Filed under: Uncategorized |