Friday, July 16, 2010

Pass the mustard

A throwaway title seemed fitting as I'm running out of unique ways to describe the Phillies' inconsistency. We're only two games into the second half, but the team has nothing on their plate but baseball for the next 16 days. Every subsequent loss is going to make that journey stretch out even further.

I admit that Philadelphia would not be playing with such off-and-on success with all of its pieces in place, but like Ryan Howard said, this team can still win even with all of these injuries. Maybe the players don't remember what its like to have so many of their teammates missing at one time. They're clearly not coping with it as well as the Boston Red Sox.

Howard has seemed to fool himself into thinking it's already late August in these first two games, smoking three two-run jacks, two of which have given the Phillies the lead. Thus far, he's provided two-thirds of the Phightins' total offense in the second half, and he can't be expected to carry the load on his own. The Cubs have suddenly forgotten that they're a team in a freefall, so the rest of the Phillie bats need to follow Ryan's example over these last two games.

When it comes to the Phils, I've never subscribed to the wait-and-see approach, but after following them more closely than I have before, I'm reaching that ambivalent point. The Phillies will either snap out of this for good at some future date or ride the seesaw through the rest of the season and likely miss the playoffs. They need several core players back and shop aggressively at the Trade Deadline (Ruben Amaro, Jr.'s moves last season basically got the Phillies back to World Series). Only then will the team be able to prevent one different aspect in every game that prevents it from winning.

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