Started to write this Friday, but held off because of circumstances not beneficial to the Phillies. The later it gets this afternoon the worst I get. Thurs night was to me a plateau to be conquered: over .500 finally and look out NL East. Nats behind us and ATL playing like bleh, couldn't ask for much more. Then comes the weekend...
Why is it that since 2008 we can't beat MIL consistently? Why do players like Aoki and Lucroy look like world killers? Why do our outfielders choke like a baby who swallowed a penny when anybody with speed is on base against them? Ok this last sentence I take back. Our outfield sucks, no range and no arms. I have no fix for this now or in the minors. Do I know what it takes? Yes, get rid of Howard's salary and I'll find us a competent outfield.
I had high hopes for the bats. Hitting is contagious and it started to spread until Friday. Between bats dying and Chollie's bizarre lineups I'm losing my anticipation for this season slowly but surely. Try as I might there are no bright spots or silver linings day to day like existed a week ago. Kratz gets hurt, Stutes forgets how to pitch, dead bats(save Brown, who has slowed down a tad), Howard(who won't listen to my advice... his loss) becoming a zero threat, lack of a leadoff hitter(thanks Chollie) which leads to Revere hitting 2nd, no wonder I sleep like shit at night and smoke more than I used to. For a week that started out so full of promise and blew up like a car driven by John McClane what else could a sane person think?
It saddens me to have to write like this, but if you think about it I'm just following performance on the field. There's no longer much room for witty or funny commentary, because I take my baseball seriously. I believe last week was make or break for this season. Won 6 in a row, over .500 and ahead of the Gnats(lmao) and in position to decide their destiny. So we go 0-3 and look like shit doing it and lose players. Momentum gone, having fun during games gone, bullpen rallying like a drowning life guard. The optimists will say there's a lot of season left, but not enough to take charge and be a force. So with heavy heart I'm going to piss off DGirl, Robin, and a few others. It's time to sell starting with Utley, if he can come back to serviceable like the beginning of the season. There'll be plenty of interest in him and he should bring some decent future player(s) that will contribute. The Michael Young experiment started out great, but now he looks like an older veteran that can help certain teams in certain situations. Kratz and Chooch love them, but serviceable pieces to certain teams in the right situations. Since I can't get 2 weeks with Howard to straighten him out get whatever you can for him, even carrying half his salary this year and next. Brown and Mayberry get stays right now. Galvis will be Valdez for the next few years. Doesn't leave much, does it?
Of course everything depends on if/who goes and what we get back. I'm saying get used to the fact that the core of the last 6 seasons aren't what they used to be. I purposely left off pitching because I think with the right replacements we won't be that bad off. I honestly think Halladay is going to prove all naysayers wrong and be a beast again for a couple more years. That man doesn't know how to lose, or go down without a fight. Cliff, Cole, Kendrick, even Pettibone can be formidable. When the Phils clean house on the coaching staff and Sandberg takes over with a new pitching coach, who knows what may happen? Ryno in less than 2 seasons took the Iron Pigs from laughing stock to the top of the league, even with tons of callups. There's no reason to lose it, this is called evolution. Luckily we have the right man in place. If only Chollie will bow out gracefully... but that's another problem for another time.
And lastly #MG3... I had a damn good time. Kudos to Wriz and staff for the choice of sections with covered parking and location. Plenty of beer and food if you knew where to look. Plenty of good company. Was definitely worth the 2500 mile trip, even though it was the secondary reason lol. ;) Was great to meet all the Bunters, and tshirts were flying all over. Hopefully I get to do it again next year, even though it's my family's turn to come out west. No matter what next April or May I'll be at Chase Field in my Richie Ashburn throwback jersey rooting for my Phils. Since coming back from Dallas I'm still undefeated in games I attend against the Dbacks. But for anything written above management has the last say. I only wish I could get someone's ear who mattered for 5 minutes.
Let's get Bunted, looking forward to 2015 and the new regime.
Bill S aka/netfather