January 29, 2015

That’s Quite Enough of That

Ryan Howard Strikeout

OK, Phillies, that was nice, you got your slump out of your system (5-12 in the last 17) and now it’s time to go back to playing real baseball like adults. There’s no elaborate fix, or obvious plan to break out. The team just needs to hit, period. The hitters need to stop swinging at bad pitches, come up with some clutch hits, and pull us out of this. You can whine and moan about Brett Myers all day, but the starting pitching hasn’t been HORRIBLE during this stretch. If we want to win a World Series, the pitching needs to be addressed, but right now (as in starting tonight) we need to be focused on not playing as though the baseball is the size of a golf ball.

Why now?

- Interleague play is over – that might allow some of our players to reset mentally
- There are 13 games left before the all-star break
- 10 of those games are at home
- 7 of those games are against the Mets and the Chipper-Less Braves
- If we continue playing this way into the all-star break, who knows if the slump will stop, or if we will just continue to play .500 ball the rest of the year on our way to another incredibly unrewarding 85-win season.
- The Marlins are a 1/2 game back. We’ve been lucky that the other teams in our division are not playing well, but it won’t stay that way. The Mets will make a run, I guarantee it.

We need to go at least 8-5 in these last 13. 52-44 going into the all-star break, then make a move for a starting pitcher and get hot in August.

You showed us how good you can be, and I don’t think I can handle another promising Phillies team underachieving. Let’s get serious starting tonight, enough is enough.

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  1. bski says:

    Charlie Manuel seems to be getting more vocal, more specific, and more impatient about the team’s struggles. Once again, we’re going to need to continue our run of very good second half baseball to hold everyone else off. When Manuel was told that several players are confident because the team seems to play better in the second half, he asked, “Why not be an all-season team?”. I would love to know the answer to that, as well.

  2. bski says:

    Brett Myers just accepted a demotion to AAA. Looks like the wheels of change have finally been set in motion. I’m anxious to see what, if anything, will follow this in an attempt to snap the Phils out of their 3 week funk.

  3. mole says:

    bski—could chollie manual be next?? aside from a historic collapse by the mets last year he has been a sub-par manager–has not managed games well at all—i never been huge fan of him—i could go on for days about his game tactics and poor decision making—seems like most players like him tho–with all of this talent, it is inexcusable to go into 3 week funks…

    on the flip side—the players have to play

    i’m actually pissed that the phils made the playoffs last year and were allotted three extra games, b/c if they didnt, we would probably have a new manager

  4. bski says:

    MOLE: I don’t see Charlie going anywhere anytime soon. Whether or not you like the way he manages, he has been doing the same things all year. It all comes down to execution. Earlier, when we were playing well, he looked like he had his finger on the pulse of the team and pulled all the right strings. Lately, it looks like every move he makes is the wrong one. Charlie hasn’t changed, the productivity of the players has. He is still putting the same guys in the same situations. They are just not getting the job done.

  5. Pete says:

    mole –

    i disagree. manuel made some awful calls in his first season, but since then he has been much better. i dont believe utley, howard or rollins would have improved as they have under another manager.

    and winning is the bottom line. since he became manager, no team has more wins in the NL than the Phillies (note: that may have changed with the recent losing streak, but regardless)

  6. mole says:

    and willie randolph had the second highest win percentage in mets history….still lost his job..

    bottom line is that if you have all this talent—and you have 3 or 4 years to do something with it and dont, you shouldnt have a job…

  7. Zack says:

    bski, an update on my “researcn”… I was looking at last year’s stats and comparing it to this year’s:

    1. Jimmy Rollins doesn’t have a high on-base %, I don’t think he should be batting leadoff, that’s just basic baseball, right? He’s actually more of a slugger, and based on numbers alone, he should be batting behind Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell. Why are we giving this guy the most at-bats?

    2. Speaking of the big guy, he’s not as horrible as people are making him out to be – striking out is his biggest flaw, but he compensates for it with walks and total bases.

    3. If only we could’ve pitched the way we’re pitching this year last year, and if we could hit this year the way we hit last year…

    4. KEY: The Phils aren’t hitting enough singles. They still draw walks, hit doubles and homers, but they’re not hitting singles like we did last year – I think this is limiting our ability to manufacture runs.

    to be continued…

  8. bski says:

    MOLE: If this were three years ago, I’d be with you. Like Pete, I thought Manuel was horrific in his first season. Since then, however, I think he has improved dramatically. I really don’t think what’s going on is his fault. I mean, come on. What would you do with Myers, Eaton, Jenkins, Taguchi? I’ll say it again. Manuel is putting his guys in a position to win, but they are not executing. You can’t blame Manuel for that. If you want to hold Manuel and his coaches(like Milt Thompson) accountable for the lack of execution, I’m fine with that. Every February we hear the same line about needing to execute and to be sharp and fundamentally sound, yet we still can’t bunt, pitchers don’t always cover first, and stuff like that.

    If the Phils continue their baffling ways, at some point-halfway through next season at the earliest-Manuel will be let go. If it happens, it will be more because it is easier to change managers than it is to change half the roster in one fell swoop. You know it’s the same in all sports. The manager takes the hit, whether or not it is deserved.

    Whenever Charlie goes, I predict we’re going to get a more rigid replacement. This also happens in all sports. Teams go back and forth between a “disciplinarian” and a “players” manager/coach. You know how it goes. The disciplinarian imposes structure and is a stern, demanding task master(Bowa). After a while, he wears the players out so they need a “players” manager(Manuel). The players relax and become more productive for a while. Until complacency sets in and we need to bring in another disciplinarian to snap them back in line. The cycle just keeps repeating.

  9. bski says:

    ZACK: Thanks for the update.

    Point #1: As far as Rollins goes, the debate about where he should be in the lineup has been going on for years. The number one problem all these years has been that we do not have anyone else to put in the lead off spot. A few years ago, Abreu’s name was put out there, but he was most comfortable hitting third. More recently, we’ve tried Victorino and had a dalliance with Werth, but neither one fared that well. Rollins would be worse in the #2 spot, IMO. He would most likely be ok hitting 3rd with Utley protecting him in the 4 spot, but then you get into the problem of moving Howard down. Personally, I don’t think it’s a problem. I think he should be hitting lower, but I don’t know the condition of his psyche.

    Anyway, I think the patient, line drive Jimmy Rollins is fine in the lead off spot. It’s the swing at the first pitch, home run hitting Jimmy Rollins that is no good leading off. To me, those are his two biggest problems. I don’t think he must necessarily walk a lot, but being more patient and seeing more pitches certainly would help him. Also, the absolute worst thing that can happen is for him to hit a few home runs. Then he starts with his uppercut swing and hits mostly flyballs, the overwhelming majority of which end up in an outfielder’s glove.

    Point #2: As far as Howard, the strikeouts do matter. What matters more, however, is what those strikeouts mean. They mean that he is not recognizing pitches, not being selective, not staying on the ball, not going with the pitch, etc…all of which means he is not a reliably good hitter. You might call him the most productive poor hitter in the game, which is quite the backhanded compliment. All things considered, we can be glad we’re getting what we are from him without being happy with what we’re getting.

    Point #3 is the Webster’s dictionary definition of an average team, which we are right now. Just can’t put it all together, and haven’t been able to for many years.

    Point #4: Sounds about right to me.

  10. Pete says:

    ” Speaking of the big guy, he’s not as horrible as people are making him out to be ”

    sounds like a $150 million dollar man to me!

  11. Kevin says:

    I’ll never understand the constant bashing of Rollins and Howard. Yet Chase can go 0-1000 and get a standing ovation when he finally gets a hit. On that sames series, Ryan drove him in with a single, and he got a little more then a golf clap. Look I am as big a Chase fan as anyone, and dont want people to start getting on him. I just want people to lay off Rollins and Howard. Typical Philly fashion, we rarely appreciate what we have until it is gone.

    On a more positive note, glad to see the offense come to life last night. Lets seal up this division now….

  12. Tommy O says:

    What do you think of a deal like…..
    Geoff Jenkins, Victorino, Brett Myers as a closer, Carrasco, Cardenas


    CC Sabathia and Grady Sizemore

  13. Pete says:

    Kevin -

    I’ve said many times on my blog here that we need to appreciate howard, utley and rollins because we will look back when we are older and wish they were still around. I love all 3 guys – but it doesn’t mean we can’t critique them.

    I think part of the reason people critique them is because we’ve seen how good they can be (particularly Howard, who should NOT be hitting .219, you can’t really argue with that) AND we are partially scared to death that if we can’t win this these guys, who on earth CAN we win with!

    If we were the Yankees or Red Sox, I would be pushing to sign Howard to whatever he wanted, but we aren’t, and we aren’t going to be. If he wants $150 million, he simply won’t get it from us.

    You are right though that people should watch themselves when getting on these players because they have, well, won frickin’ MVP awards for us.

    Tommy O-

    I would do that deal. Can’t imagine the Indians giving up Sizemore. He’s their Utley.

  14. Tommy O says:

    Yea I know that. I ran it up the flagpole on an ESPN message board and I was harrased. BIG TIME lol. Yea I am just a huge fan of Grady Sizemore and would love to see him hit in our lineup. Try being a right handed pitcher facing our 2,3,4 of Grady, Chase and Ryan. Give up everything if you can lure these two away. This doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell but a lil wishful thinking never hurt anyone.

  15. bski says:

    Well, I guess that is quite enough of that. Four straight wins gets the bad taste out of our mouths. I wouldn’t say that our offense “beat” Santana, but at least we got to him for one inning and pulled out a win. Thank God for the National League.