Commentary: The End? I Just Can’t Tell

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, September 04, 2008 10:42 AM | Comments: 97

I wasn’t just trying to be funny by writing about The Doors “The End” during the Nationals’ rally last night. It really happened. The song seeped into my brain as Ryan Zimmerman and crew knocked Chad Durbin around.

The end? I hope not (and I don’t think so) — but why else would the song magically appear?

Last night’s loss to the Nationals served as a microcosm of the season so far. In broad terms, the Phils got out to an early lead, fought a bit to reclaim the lead, held it for a while, then were tied, then blew the lead big time before unsuccessfully clawing back late.

But specifically, the warts were again out in full view. Starting pitching, while not completely bad, wasn’t effective enough. Relief pitching was overtaxed. The back of the offense did nothing. Things the Phillies really needed down the stretch — an experienced setup man, a bat for the bottom of the order — were painfully missing.

You can’t drop two games to the Washington Nationals. You just can’t. Not when the Mets are beating everything in sight. Not when a three-game deficit suddenly resembles a six- or seven-game deficit.

And it does — this Mets team seems more composed and relaxed than last year’s bumbling mafia. The Phillies? Tired (now it’s the pitching). There’s always something wrong with this team.

But there’s always hope. Sept. 5, 2007, the Phils dropped a late lead to the Braves, maybe the worst loss of that season. They were five behind the Mets after that game. They actually went to seven behind a week later. But we know the rest of that story.

With just over 20 games to play, there’s absolutely still a chance the Phils can overtake the Mets, or the Brewers, or whatever, to take a playoff spot. We were all packing it in on Sept. 5, 2007. Now here we are, almost a year later, and the situation is eerily similar.

Is it really the end? Or is this team going to channel 2007?

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 I know Sal..

    I just don’t see the hunger in them this year…they play as if their owed something. Extremely disappointing is what this year has turned into.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I cant rely on the mets collapsing again. but apparently the phillies, management, front office, players, all are relying on that. their whole attitude this year has reflected an arrogant malaise. “well we can catch up later and beat them in september”. really? the time is now. youd better hop to it.

    the mets collapse and the phils sibsequent division win might be the WORST thing that couldve happened to them. they ALL, top to bottom, got really arrogant and lazy and theyre being punished for it now.

    can they come back? yes. will the mets choke up the lead again? probably. but are the phillies good enough to run away with it? NO.

  • Posts: 0 Anth

    They will not be back. I expect the Mets to take 2 of 3, and put the Phils 5 games out with less then 20 to go. I don’t think the Brewers are going to lose the wild card either. What a disappointment.

  • Posts: 0 Rick

    I think we see a good game out of Myers tonight to take the first of the 3 game series. Lets hope!

  • Posts: 0 Rick

    Anth – That would only put them 4 games out. Worst case, the lose all three games, they’d be six games out.

  • Posts: 0 Don M


  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Yeah this team is quite sad all year. Instead of putting a few games together and winning at certain points during the year they would blow some game they should have won. Phillies should have been 5-7 games up on the Mets before the Mets figured out how to win. We know the Mets don’t have much fight in them, but when you let a team stick around they always end up getting you in the end. Not once during the whole year did the Phillies as a team pick it up and just win games. This is what you get with a whole lot of talent and no real direction. Good managing Charlie!!! It’s just a shame you did well enough to keep your job for another year. The new GM should just dump this overweight chump of a manager for a real one.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Dude, they are a baseball team, and a pretty good one at that. Since they fired Willie.. the Muts are playing pretty damn good too. … We’re better than most teams, but all things considered if we finish ahead of the Mets that will be seen as the Mets failing rather than the Phillies being the better team.

    Wait and see what happens, stop crying about this team and how the players seem arrogent and lazy to you… they’ve been good all year, and they are really never out of a game.. but lets focus on whatever bad things we can instead, right?

    You should start following women’s professional softball instead.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I thought Charlie was a genious like two weeks ago when the Phillies had moves payoff to beat the Dodgers and the Mets… you front-running bastards need to find new hobbies, instead of flip-flopping daily about whether you like this team or not

  • Posts: 0 PhillyFriar

    Ironically, if this really is “The End” for the 2008 Phils, then the culprit isn’t the pitching.

    2007 Phillies: 111 OPS+, 97 ERA+
    2008 Phillies: 101 OPS+, 115 ERA+

    The pitching has, on the whole, been phenomenal this year — especially the bullpen. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are the biggest reasons we find ourselves 3.0 games back right now.

    If you’d have told me before the season that the Phils would have a 115 ERA+ at this point of the year, I’d have told you we were a minimum of 8 games up. The offense picked a bad year to crap the bed, huh?

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Actually, since I think killing is disgusting, i probably wouldnt even participate. you only kill if you are directly in danger of being killed yourself. even then, you should try and incapacitatie/subdue instead of killing. killing other humans is a savage thing to do. if you understand history youd know that the single greatest cause of human death in the past 1-200 years has been warfare and government extermination.

    there is a reason americans are the most violent people in the world. they have more people in prison here in america than the rest of the world combined. much of that is due to the false war on drugs but much of it is also due to the violent society we live in.

    it takes real strength not to be maliciously violent. if i had to be, id make sure to do it with complete efficiency. so you neednt worry about going to war with me either way.

  • Posts: 0 Eb

    Don M… I dont think people were saying Charlie is a genius, he made a couple good calls, however looking baack in the long term he is an awful manager.

    charlie is a nice guy and I would love to have a couple beers with him, but the entire staff needs to go

  • Posts: 0 Don M


  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Because of his high winning percentage?

    I’ll give you the fact that he isn’t the best at in-game strategy.. but when EVERY player tells you how much they love playing for him, and how loose he keeps the clubhouse… that means that he does a good job…

    I guess he doesn’t have enough world series rings for you though?

  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    People were jumping off bridges last night, but the truth is a three-game lead with 23 to play isn’t insurmountable. Is this team the team that’s going to overtake it? I don’t know. They are a good team, absolutely, but good enough all year to win the division over the Mets? Evidently not.

  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    I’d say this season, Don, Charlie has done a good job, but has obvious flaws. At times he’s looked very smart; at times he’s looked dumb. Performance will trigger both.

    Is Charlie a manager that can get a team to a World Series? As of now, he’s not. Is this front office capable of putting together a team good enough for the Series? As of now, they’re not. Those are the only hard facts we can go by — that the manager and front office (and players) haven’t been good enough to reach the absolute goal.

    Does it mean Charlie should go? Maybe. But if not, maybe he needs better players.

  • Posts: 0 Gavin

    I lost faith in this team a while back, and at no point have I regained it. It’s been a frustrating season. If its not the pitching its the hitting, and I just dont see any spark or sense of urgency.

    I think it is “The End”, but I think it ended a while back, not yesterday……..to quote another, “The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost….they caught the last train for the coast.” I think the Phils lost this when they got beaten down out west.

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Don M, the fact that you ever thought Charlie was a genius shows your true intelligence right there.

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Don M, sometimes I wonder if you are employed by the Phillies, how can you keep such a positive outlook, year after year after year….???

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Just once I’d like to see the Phillies make a move that really impacts the team. Where is the Phillies Fernando Tatis or Dan Murphy or Ryan Church or Oliver Perez? Not resigning Rowand is looking like the biggest offseason move that affected the team. Should have just paid the guy whatever he wanted.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I never thought he was a genious… but anyone that reads my posts know that I’m a firm believer in the fact that sometimes moves work and sometimes they don’t…. but you shouldn’t bash your own team when they lose, and then blow them all when they win.

    If you guys remember back to the Dodgers games, and the Mets game, when they won in extras.. everyone was saying how smart Charlie was for using whatever pinch hitter.. or pitcher, etc.. Last night he used Durbin where he should.. Zimmerman took Durbin long.. that ain’t Manuel’s fault…. but Durbin has been awesome for this team all year that I don’t blame him either.. you just win some and you lose some.

    I try to keep a positive outlook because thats what fans are supposed to do.

  • Posts: 0 Dennis

    If the Phils don’t make the postseason this year….CHARLIE HAS TO GO! He manages like it’s little league and everyone has to play the minimum innings and get the minimum at bats. They said someone to light a fire up their asses and happy go lucky Charlie doesn’t work. I understand the players like him and I like him too, but not managing my baseball team.

  • Posts: 0 VASteve

    I still have the faith. We can win this thing, and it all starts tomorrow night. One game at a time. However …….

    I was at the game last night. Two observations:

    1. I have said this numerous times on this blog. Single biggest flaw of this team, put the ball in play when it needs to be. Several times last night, and many dozens of time this season, we failed to move a runner and/or score a run. THE LITTLE THINGS. Definitely cost us the game last night and probably a half dozen this year. I do have to commend Stairs last night, going the opposite way with the pitch, scoring Vic.

    2. Charlie had a bad night last night. As the Nats were mouting their charge, I kept saying to myself that he needs to make the move. He stayed with our pitchers one batter too many last night says this armchair manager. But I think he did.

    Water under the bridge now, need to play solid fundamental baseball the next three weeks, and we do have a shot.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Ben. . . how is Rowand doing compared to Victorino this year?? Oh yea.. keeping in mind that he makes over $9 M more than him this year too..

    Tatis, Murphy, Church, Perez? are you serious?

  • Posts: 0 Greg B

    Mother F*$#ers. The biggest series of the year is coming up and you are all ready to call it quits? B/c they dropped a series to an oddly hot Nationals team?
    No. Don’t give me this BS. You all suck and are shitty fans. JRoll is right, you front-running bastards. Go root for the Eagles.

  • Posts: 0 stephen

    Chad Durbin was put in because of his record against Ryan Zimmerman. Sorry to say but nobody is perfect through the course of an entire season. The Mets series will definately factor into our playoff chances.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I love how everyone is still jumping on Howard (league leader in HR and RBI)… and Rollins eventhough he’s playing great baseball as of late..

    paying no attention to the missing BAT of Pat Burrell.. Chase Utley’s power seems to GONE..

    Anyone blaming this stuff on Charlie Manuel needs to start following baseball

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Thats what fans are supposed to do? Since when is there a rule book on what fans are supposed to do?

    Durbin is showing exactly what kind of pitcher he is. Never was that good to begin with and put up some good numbers. Good numbers mean nothing to me. Durbin has showed that he can’t get guys out when it truely matters and getting guys out every once and a while does not count. I’m sorry but there is no true setup man on the Phillies so you stick with whatever was working. You’ve got to know your players, not just throw them in situations and hope for the best.

    The Phillies have not played up to their potential this year and you cant just win some, lose some anymore. They’ve done that too much already. Goes right back to my point that the Phillies just don’t put any string any good stretches together. It’s ok to play .500 baseball if you play .700 baseball the weeks before. It’s not ok to play .500 baseball over long stretches if you have any expectations of winning. The Phillies were 39-26(6/8) at one point. They have since played one game under .500 baseball since then. Somethings gotta be wrong.

  • Posts: 0 christopher

    once the phillies sweep the mets, a different tune will be playing.

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Well considering we still had Victorino last year with Rowand, whats your point? Wouldn’t it have been great if we had Rowand AND Victorino?

  • Posts: 0 Jim

    We traded for blanton and all they talked about was how he’s an innings eater. What the hell happend to that he can’t go more then 5 without blowing up

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Don M, Are you seriously gonna say that those guys are garbage for the Mets? All I’m asking is who the Phillies version is of those guys?
    Not how good of players you think they are. You can’t argue with the fact that the Mets have gotten production from places they never thought they’d get it. Where is that on the Phillies? Where is any consistent production?

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    And if Howard is your only example keep talking. The guy is still hitting below .240. So its safe to say he could have had a better year.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Does this work better for you,

    I try to keep a positive outlook because thats what fans are supposed to do, IN MY OPINION…

    we should have paid Rowand whatever he wanted..

    And then how would we pay Hamels, Victorino, Howard, Burrell, and everyone else that people want to keep or that we have to pay arbitration.

    Rowand is a nice player.. but I think Victorino is better all-around.. and if someone else wants to overpay Rowand for 5 years, you can’t knock the Phillies for letting him walk.

    Werth is probably having a better year than Rowand too..

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    You must be friends with Geoff… people probably lineup to hang out with you guys, and get-in on that postive-vibe you always put out.. you seriously must be a lot of fun at parties, and to watch games with and stuff

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Consistent production from the Phillies..you mean guys like,

    Werth, Dobbs, Durbin, Moyer…. all guys people weren’t expecting much from, and all guys that steadily help this team win games..

    Everyone on EVERY team could have a better year.. I just think that other teams fans actually stay positive instead of jumping on-and-off the bandwagon depending on the outcome of each game. Half the guys on here would have killed themselves by now if they were Cubs fans, or RedSox fans before 2004.



  • Posts: 0 Darren Daulton

    Geoff my man! Do you take yourself seriously. I see other people have picked up on your b.s. crap. Do you ever sleep? Do you think people really care that much about what YOU have to say? Are you one of the bottom feeding liberals that collect unemployment and welfare and then blog about crappy baseball teams all day? I’ll be back in a few days because I dont have a chance to get on much. I forsee you continuing to write over and over again…. just dont foget to answer the door when dominoes delivers your lunch.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    Ben~ What is your definition of the word “fan” (for the Phillies)?

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    I just don’t know what it is about this team this year, last September I was gung-ho going into september with even more of a deficit. I don’t see that same fire, that same agenda that they had set and were going to do Whatever It Takes to get there. They feel bland and that lack of character is a direct reflection of the manager, I am sorry, I still have faith, but one playoff appearance and no playoff fire in that playoffs, with the talent that is present on this team. The manager is always on the hot seat.

  • Posts: 0 Rick

    The thing about not signing Rowand is the flexibility it provides them in the future. Haven’t they had enough bad long-term contracts over the past 8 years? Burrell, Abreu, Eaton all come to mind.

    I mean Rowand is a career .284 hitter and he’s hitting .277 this year. His production over the next 4 years after this is likely to steadily decline since he’ll be 32, 33, 34, & 35 those years. By the 4th year of that deal, we would all most likely be bi+ching about it.

    I do believe letting him walk instead of paying him 9.6mil was a better long-term deal.

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    I’m really curious as to which fans cheer their team on when they lose a late-season series to a crappy team like the Nats? You can’t be expected to be happy or positive about failure, it’s just silly.

  • Posts: 0 Rick

    Don M. – You shouldn’t leave out the White Sox. They had not won it since 1914 before they took the WS in 2005. I used to always get sick of listening to Red Sox fans complain while the White Sox and Cubs had it even worse.

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    Not for nothing though. Tim is this sight Phillies Nation or Phillies “whine and cheese” convention? Stop with the crying already, so they lost a series to the Nats in a terrible way and Uncle Chollie royally makes a mockery out of managing night in and night out. Let’s face it maybe this team only succeeds with their backs against the wall. They have three with the Mets and 4 with the Brew Crew, after next week we will know our fate. Here’s rooting to be at 10th and Pattison come October, and not for a beer at McFadden’s to watch the birds game.

  • Posts: 0 Rick

    Haha! Seriously Richie! It’s almost like the Phillies have the Mets right where they need them. It’s just frustrating that they can’t seem to get it done unless they have their backs up against a wall.

  • Posts: 0 KM

    Hard loss to take – Durbin looks burned out, I’d give him 4-5 days off.

    Hitting Utley was done in a classy fashion last night. I hate to see Utley get hit by a pitch, but that is old school baseball. Did anyone notice Utley lean into the pitch a bit, and Odalis Perez lob it in there?

  • Posts: 0 Chris.I

    3 Games out isn’t as bad as it seems…Especially at this point, going into a 3 game series against the Mets. We have to ”atleast” take 2 out of 3 from the Mets to even consider making the playoff’s. I don’t see a sweep happening, but anything is possible. The Season basically comes down to this series right here. How bad do we want to win? Guess we’ll find out.

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Seriously Bruce? If that isn’t a loaded question if ever saw one. Give me a break with that question.

  • Posts: 0 Don M


    where you at man??? haven’t heard from you in days, weeks, months…

  • Posts: 0 Ben

    Don M, I guess blindly following the team you love is a personal choice. I watch plenty of games to know im not a front-runner. I’ll be watching them against the Mets and hating on Hernandez and Cohen as I am forced to listen to those butchers, but excuse me if I don’t see how they make the come back this year. They just haven’t shown it. But if it does happen I will be there watching the whole thing. By the way, if my positive outlook on the Phillies actually made a difference I’d be all for it, but I’m not that naive. So I keep a realistic viewpoint.

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