Remember how excited we all were about the second half of the season? The Phillies are notorious for having slow starts and then suddenly turning it on after the All-Star break, and it sure felt like business as usual for the Fightins when Ryan Howard hit that two-run bomb off of Ryan Dempster in the first inning of Thursday night’s game.
And then the rest of the series unfolded.
The friendly confines of Wrigley Field were anything but this past weekend as the Phils lost three of four games to the 42-51 Cubs. Here’s what I was able to take away from this series:
1. The offense has to start showing up before the ninth inning.
2. They also have to stop looking at strike three.
3. Cole Hamels might be back to form.
4. Roy Halladay is human.
5. The pitchers need to learn how to lay down a bunt.
6. So does Wilson Valdez.
7. It’s great to be on the winning end of a blown save.
8. It sucks when the opposing pitcher gets on base.
9. Ryan Howard is getting hot.
10. Jayson Werth clearly doesn’t ever want me to tweet again.
What else can be said that already hasn’t been written by beat writers and other bloggers? The 2010 Phillies are a disappointment so far. Yes, they’ve had a ton of guys on the disabled list, but championship teams persevere. Only losers and Mets fans whine about injuries. (I’m being redundant, aren’t I?) The Phils don’t have the luxury of being in a soft division this year. The Braves and the Mets are better now, and they are going to be tough to beat down the stretch.
I still have hope that Ruben Amaro, Jr will make a bold move before the trade deadline and that Domonic Brown will be brought up to provide a much needed offensive spark to the lineup. I also continue my mantra: “If the Phillies keep it close now, they can win in September.” Remember that they play the Braves and Mets six times each during the final month of the season, and the Phillies should be healthy by then. But they have to keep it close, and they can only do that by winning.
The Phils start a three-game series against the Cardinals tonight. Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 4.44 ERA) faces Blake Hawksworth (3-5, 4.73 ERA) in the series opener.
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