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The Phillies Are Failing

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manuel arguing The Phillies Are FailingNo one seems to want to hear it, or acknowledge it, but the Phillies are a team hemorrhaging severely. They’ve sunk out of first place in the National League East for the fifth time this year with no signs of relief, after Sunday’s embarrassing 9-3 loss to Atlanta. It’s now an event each time this team, supposedly an offensive juggernaut, scores a run. The Phillies have tallied just 10 runs in their last nine games, going 2-7 during that stretch. Even more so, the Phillies are 21-21 since starting the season 7-1.

Don’t look now, but does anyone think this team is capable of winning 100 games as of June 1? Anyone, anyone? Didn’t think so. The thoughts of winning 100 games is secondary to the Phillies even getting out of the NL East, which has suddenly become more of a challenge than the Phillies suckling minions were ready to admit back in February. Let’s face it, this team has dramatically underachieved 50 games into this season. Going 28-22 in the NL is the best of a bad situation, and that’s what the National League is in 2010-a bad situation (compounded by the fact the Phils don’t even have the best NL record anymore, surpassed by lowly Cincinnati and San Diego, tied atop the NL with 30 wins each). For the Phils to win 100 games, they’ll have to go 72-40 the rest of the way. Does anyone with a reasonable, logical mind that understands baseball see that happening?

How about it this: It’s highly unlikely. How about another not-so startling revelation: The Phillies may not be as good as everyone originally forecasted they would be. Do you believe in Brad Lidge, who was taken off the disabled list on Sunday? From this viewpoint, no, he hasn’t really been reliable since 2008. Do you think the return of Jimmy Rollins will make any difference? Maybe, maybe not, when you consider Rollins is a year older and nagging injuries like a strained calf for a player who depends on his legs like Rollins takes time to mend. Do you believe in the offense, which has gone Arctic cold since averaging 8 runs a game over their first 8 games? You don’t have to be a baseball expert to see they’re struggling. Since blowing out Pittsburgh 12-2 on May 17, the Phillies are averaging 1.8 runs a game the last 13, going 4-9. And remember, the Phillies started May 12-3!

Yes, this team is in an interesting situation just two months into the season. As we enter June, it’s fragmented, with one reliable part–Roy Halladay. That’s it. There’s no questioning Halladay is remarkable, but if there is any way he can pitch every day, as the Phils eke out one or two runs, sure, the rest of the way looks good.

But we all know that’s impossible–even for Halladay. Like it’s now impossible for anyone not willing to admit this is a team in trouble.

With the expectations and talent on the Phillies, if they don’t get back to the World Series a third-straight time, the 2010 Phillies could go down as the biggest underachievers in recent Philadelphia sports history.

I’m not about to blame Charlie Manuel. It’s not on him. The Phils’ skipper has a right to be fed up. And he obviously is. He got tossed from Sunday’s game, his frustration bubbling over. He’s tinkered with the lineup-to no avail. Let’s hope the Phils have hit their nadir on May 31. Let’s hope a team that’s won three-straight NL East titles and appeared in the last two World Series finds itself before it’s too late. Because so far in 2010, the Phillies are failing.

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