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Enigma? You Betcha

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, August 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Comments: 136
Analysis, Opinion, Posts

My hope is that you’ve stopped trying to figure out this Phillies team. It’s impossible to do, so refrain from wasting what precious time we have on this earth wondering why the Phils can downright suck against a bottom-feeding Houston team, then, travel 3,000 miles to the Southern California coast, and beat up on a playoff team. It doesn’t make sense now and it hasn’t throughout this entire 2010 season.

What does make sense, and what we have figured out, is that this Phillies club wants to take us on some kind of journey. It’s a trip through the unknown.

In 2007, the writing was on the wall for the Phillies to be a playoff caliber team. Remember how exciting it was to watch Brett Myers flip his glove into the air on the final day to win the NL East, capping an amazing run to overtake the Mets from seven games down with 17 to go? That comeback was improbable, yet, explainable. New York fell apart while the Phillies got hot at the right time.

In 2008, it was time to take a step forward, so they went ahead and won the whole thing. Building on the ’07 campaign was easy as this town rallied behind the club for their first title since 1980.

In 2009, we understood this team was still special, still the cream of the NL crop. Many knew they were good enough to win the National League once again, and again they did. The season itself was pretty much a breeze – everyone stayed relatively healthy and the Phillies won the east by six games. It was easy to comprehend.

This year, not so much. How can one team look nearly unbeatable for the first two weeks, lead the division by a healthy five games on May 17, then fall flat on it’s face for nearly two whole months without explanation? How could it happen that the Phillies then follow a seven-game stretch in mid-July when they appeared to be sinking by winning 13 out of 15 to sit one back in the division behind the steady Braves?

After their pitiful showing against the Astros at home, Jimmy Rollins hinted that (and I’m paraphrasing) maybe it was a good idea to get away from Philly and kick start things on the road. Who knew he wasn’t kidding.  The latest series in San Diego was anything but inspired baseball, however, they did enough to sweep a postseason-bound team that hadn’t lost three straight all year. Until now, of course.

There is no rhyme or reason. Injuries have taken their toll, but not ravaged the team enough to shut down the year entirely. The bullpen has been relatively average throughout, yet, has shown flashed of brilliance within their darkest days. A lineup that mashed home runs for years (651 the previous three seasons, to be exact) now places in the middle of the pack on the National League. Instead, they’ve used some small ball and brilliant starting pitching to hide their power deficiencies. Still, where’d all the long-balls go?

It may not be the team you’re used too, but if you enjoy opening a new door everyday, not knowing what you’ll find when you open it, this is the team for you. It may also be frustrating to try and understand what this Phillies team has given all season, but it’s impossible to do. If you prefer a healthy lifestyle, I’d suggest leaving well enough alone. Because in the end, this team may surprise you once more. That, or give you a heart attack.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1667 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    NJ – If your kid, heaven forbid, ever makes a colossal blunder or does something wrong and were somehow taken to jail, I would think that you would bail him out. Roll with me if this is oversimplified. When you to get your kid in the morning, do you hug him and tell him everything is going to be OK, or do you slap him silly and demand a reasonable explanation? Which ever one you pick, he’s still gonna sleep in his own bed that night and he’s still gonna be your kid.

    When I think my team needs some fixin, I like to say so. When my team has a problem, I want them to try and solve it. If they need something, I want them to go and get it. I say it out loud and that is my brand of fandom. I admit I am not a coddler but that doesn’t make wrong. NJ – you sir – respected poster – come from the “pragmatic, everything will work out, leave the guys alone, they can’t do everything” school”. Thats OK, but please acknowledge that the other type of fan – me – cares every bit about the squad as you.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Alomar fell off the face of the planet after spitting in the umpires face very fast.
    He had a very good little burst there where he was great BUT there is a longevity issue and being a bad clubhouse guy issue for me.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    *doesn’t make me wrong.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Exactly Andrew

    I’m talking chase’s legacy, he will go down as one of the very top offensive second basemen when he retires likely ahead of Ryne Sanberg in most categories and just behind him in others.

    Joe Morgan 22 seasons had 268 homers, 1133 RBIs, .271 AVG, .392 OBP
    Jeff Kent in 17 seasons had 377 homers 1500+ RBIs, .290, .356
    Ryne Sanberg in 16 seasons had 282 homers, 1061 RBI’s a .285 AVG, .344 OBP

    Utley has 172 homers, 626 RBI’s and a .293 AVG with a .379 OBP in… 7 SEASONS! his numbers in line with the others will put him right near if not at the top of the pack of the power guys.

     
  • Posts: 0 biz

    NJ,

    I was being facetious about the .330 and 40hr from Chase. Look, he’s been injured a lot and he’ll be 32 next year. If you guys really expect him to bounce back and produce like he did in 08 next year, I don’t know what to tell you. I honestly believe his best offensive years are behind him. He has shown me nothing this year to expect him to hit around .300 with 30 hr for the next 6 or 7 years like some have suggested.

     
  • Posts: 0 biz

    I read a story that said Alomar is HIV positive. His ex-girlfriend had been trying to get charges pressed against him for infecting her with the virus.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Its all a matter of if he has good years left. If hes on the downside and is all but done at 33 like alomar then hes borderline HOF.
    I definately hope his best years are ahead of him.
    Im not big on kent at all and Sandberg I am nto as high on as most.
    Do enjoy the old time baseball discussions. One of the reasons that baseball is by far the greatest sport.
    2b is possibly the weakest position on the all time list is a factor.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Alomar not a good guy. On any level.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Dipsy I’m sure we meet in the middle of adjustments need to be made but not too many and that’s the managers job and despite Charlies questionable calls sometimes when you scrutinize the team on a game by game basis this teams getting it done… I seriously doubt it’s going to get any worse for Rollins, Utley, Howard who should get stronger coming back from those injuries, Polly’s in shot of a batting title, Ibanez is around his career numbers, Vic’s has had career power numbers and will probably pad out his peripherals so it’s not as bad as it seems.

    On the other hand I shake my head over Jayson Werth because has hasn’t produced and his fundamentals have gone out the window, I love the guy but he’s clearly affected by the career year and I won’t be sorry to see him on one knee after hacking at a pitch he’s tried to go yard on as he sign a massive deal elsewhere.

    I expect my team to be as competitive as our resources allow, after being spoiled by a Championship and almost a repeat with the core of our team aged around 31 I’m going to believe we can be competitive till their well into their mid-thirties and cut them some slack for not having career years every year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Brooks Robinson hands down best defensive 3rd baseman in the history of baseball.

    ” He made some great plays in one WS.”

    Andrew, that was the first time that Robby played on the crappy artificial turf. He was dubbed the greatest ever by members of the Big Red Machine, not the press. They all said he played like he was in a different league, he was just that much better. Hoover, The Human Vacuum Cleaner.

    Here is what Robby said prior to the 1970 WS with the Reds when asked about playing on Astroturf: “I’m a major league third baseman. If you want to go play in a parking lot, I am supposed to stop the ball”

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    biz if Utley hits just 20/70 .280 in the next 7 years he’s well past Ryne Sanberg’s numbers with almost as many RBI’s as Joe Morgan and if he averages a meager 160 hits a year he’s at 2300… In 14 years, two less than Sanberg, 3 less than Kent and 8 behind Morgan.

    It’s not BSing… Utley has been something special and he just needs to maintain pretty average numbers just to be around the big boys. He’s unlikely to reach 300 hits but he’ll hit be in the top 3 all time in homers and RBI’s with the 2nd or 3rd highest average for a power hitting 2nd basemen.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^3000 hits sorry.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Andrew – 17 seasons, over 2700 base hits, over 500 doubles 1500 runs scored. Longevity?

    BTW – after the 1996 incident between him and Hirshbeck – afterwards 5 more AS appearances, 2 more Silver Slugger awards, 5 more GG. He did not fall off the face of the earth.

    Bad clubhouse influence? No excuse for spitting on a man at all, definitely but, is there any reason to provoke the situation? Not too disimilar to what Scott Barry did with Ryan Howard (hands on hips..). Umps are no angels.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    BTW if Utley plays 17 years like Alomar and averages 160 hits a year he’ll have over 2600 hits not far behind with far more homers, RBI’s…

     
  • Posts: 0 biz

    NJ, You think Chase is going to play into his early 40′s?

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    The fact that alomar put up those numbers for the most part before turning 33 says alot.
    This is his 6th year out of baseball so hes eligible. Lets see how long it takes him to get in. That usually says alot.
    When I think of alomar I think of wasted talent and that he should be the #1 2b all time.

    Anyone here familar with Phil wood. Hes a pretty accomplished baseball historian who I have had a chance to talk with alot about the history of the game. Me being 38 I havent seen alot. Only read and talked to people. Some of whoms opionions I really respect like Phil Wood.
    He assures me Schmidt was a better defensive 3b than Robinson.
    Making plays in the WS gets you a reputation.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    NJ
    I dont want alomar near my children or my clubhouse is part of it.
    Chase is a plus clubhouse guy.

    This was fun guys. Time to root for the Mets.
    An MLB double header tonight. Mets-braves then Phils- dodgers.

    touching on something else I said earlier.

    This hurricane Earl could be a big problem for the east coast. Even more than just affecting the Phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Chase is 31 in year 7, year 14 he’ll be 38, from that point I think you count years played more than playing age. he isn’t going to hang it up after only 12 or 13 years…

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Many seem to talk about Houston as being a poor performing team. The Phils should have at least split that recent four game series against them but perhaps the Phils fell a bit lax against Houston, being on a long home stand and all. Regardless of their record, Houston’s pitching has remarkably improved with the addition of Myers and Happ. Myers has had a great year so far and Wandy Rodriguez has recently improved his performance from a mediocre start. Speedy Michael Bourne had a decent series against the Phils because the Phils could not keep him off of the base paths and he got lucky and hit a pitch from Halladay for one of his few home runs so far this season. Houston’s third baseman, Chris Johnson, had a whale of a series at the plate and Carlos Lee hit a few out. Combine all that with the really poor job that that umpiring crew did in the series, lack of hitting by the Phils and you can see why that series was a disaster.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    WOWOWOWOW

    Looks like about 24 total people in the stands for the first place Braves.
    Talk about a disgrace.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Brooks – I will take Mike Schmidt over Brooks Robinson – in the field. I have never seen a man play even close to the third base Mike Schmidt played – and on AstroTurf, no less.

    Chase has had a bad year, and because he started a little late, he has less years to amass stats. Thats why this year really hurts him. I think that in 3 years we will see him in LF. I believe his body has a hard time making it through the season. We also have some 2B in the pipeline.

    Robby Alomar was a helluva player.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    keith Hernandez saying the Mets need a sweep.
    I guess he is trying to sell that they are still in it. Thats funny to me.
    Keith I hope they do sweep.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    I agree with Dipsy
    He is 100% correct on utley. Will have to step up the next few years.
    This year REALLY hurts him. but still could end up atop the heap.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    I think too that an eventual position change would benefit Utley as he gets older and plays. He wears down as the season goes along and the stress of playing second base may be a part of it. It sure takes him long to get throws off to first base sometimes. Needs to get it going offensively.

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    That’s the thing though with Utley just 20/80 and 160 hits for 7 more years puts him just behind Jeff Kent in power numbers and with more hits than Sandberg, Morgan, Kent…

    If Utley averages just 15/60 he’ll still be just behind those guys in 7 years having played two less than Sanberg…

    If Utley steps it up the next few years he’ll have more hits, homers and RBI’s than any 2nd basemen in the history of the game.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Pat Misch pitching for the sorry ass Mets. 5-2 braves
    Really it may have to be us who handles the Braves.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I have a different take on the third base debate. As a fielder I think Michael Jack was more consistent, had a better arm, covered more ground, and was much better on the slow barehanders.

    But Brooks made the more spectacular diving plays. Not just in that one WS, he made them routinely. Schmidt didn’t have to dive as much but he still got to those same type of balls with quick reaction on his feet. He was booed sometimes because he made everything look so easy! Not that he didn’t make some great diving plays, he did. I just think Brooks made more “sportcenter type” plays, but that didn’t make him better. Anyway this debate has been and will continue to go on forever.

    Andrew, how do you know Phil Wood? Is he still in the local media? I lost track of him. I heard he’s an official scorer for local MLB games.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    I’m not pinning any hope on the Muts, best case they go 1 and 3. We just have to keep up. ATL schedule stays pretty easy for the rest of the year, except one 4 game set with St Louis, and our 6 games.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Schmidt had 10 GG, 9 consecutive. 12 AS appearances.
    Brooks had 15 AS appearances and a record that probably will not be broken, 16 consecutive GG awards at third base.

    Schmidt definitely was the better hitter and a terrific 3rd baseman. Brooks was just beyond approach. Lefty, Brooks Robinson was not fast at all, he was considered slow. Maybe that is why you perceive that he dove for so many balls. He was just quick.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Muts are really getting their chances with Jar Jar – once again 2 men on, nobody out and the Muts have Beltran PH.

    Oh well – just a fleeting thought. 5-3 Braves.

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Why aren’t we celebrating sweeping the Padres?

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I haven’t stopped partying Kate :)

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Brooks, would you feel the same if your name was Mike? Just kidding-

    Well sort of, Steve (lefty) Carlton will always be my favorite pitcher!

    I really liked Brooks, in fact both Robinsons were terrific. I live near Baltimore so I saw a lot of their games. I still like Brooks in fact. He really comes off in interviews as a great guy.

    But, I’ll never give in on my argument-it’s Schmidtty for me.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lefty

    Anyone see that catch by Lorenzo Cain? Spectacular!

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    I lived in Baltimore (Towson, Timonium) from 60 until 69 then moved to the Philly area. So, I did see both Brooks and Schmidt in their primes.
    Saw some great B’ball in Baltimore and now in Philly.

    It’s Brooks for me.

     
  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Phil wood is indeed still in the Dc area broadcasting on radio and doing some work on MASN.
    Great guy and he thinks Schmidt was the better defensive 3b.
    He was an official scorer but was a long time ago. I havent talked to him in awhile though.

     
 
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