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POLL: How Long ‘Til You Freak Out About the Phillies?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, April 10, 2012 09:00 AM | Comments: 60
Analysis, News, Opinion, Poll, Posts

Will the return of Howard make you freak out less?

It’s only been four games, but some are already freaking out over the slow start by the Phillies. A 1-3 record is not what anyone envisioned when the schedule opened up in Pittsburgh, and then a home opener with the Marlins. Alas, we are here, and some are not happy. Others understand it’s a long season with many twists and turns. As Juan Pierre said after the game, it sticks out more because it’s the beginning of the year and people want results right away. But even Pierre said he’s been on teams that have started fast and faded quickly – so it’s not completely about the start. It’s mostly about the long haul.

So what camp do you find yourself in? Are you freaking out now? Or will you let this baby play out a month, or two, or three?

Let us know in the poll below.

How long until you freak out about the Phillies?

View Results

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1684 articles on Phillies Nation.

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

 
 
  • Posts: 1190 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    I’m in the one-month camp. Enough of a sample size for me to start drawing some conclusions. Seriously, one offensive explosion this week would pretty much calm everybody down and wash away most of their fears.

    Let’s not forget that we don’t tend to be hot in April anyway….

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    I’d give it a month or a month and a half. I have a feeling that Howard will be back this time in May, and with any luck Chase should be back by mid to late May.

    We could go 10-0 in the next 10 games and no one would be panicking, so there’s that, too.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Yeah, it just makes it worse that it’s the first four games of the season. If this was in mid June, no one would notice. So I feel as though it can only go up from here. I’d give it 1-2 months. Start freaking on June 1.

     
  • Posts: 0 Adam

    I give them 2 months. They’ve had bad April’s before, so one month isn’t enough for me. Now if we’re in last place, way below .500 & 12+ games back of 1st place, I might worry before Memorial Day, but I don’t see that happening (call it blind optimism).

     
  • Posts: 0 davehist

    Has anybody noticed that Jayson Werth has but one hit so far for the Nationals, hitting .071. I think they’ve been counting on Jayson to come back big time from his miserable season last year, and I’m sure he’s saying, “Hey, it’s just four games.”

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Which, after all, it is.

       
  • Posts: 0 Denise

    Way too early to freak out!! The Met’s are in first place and we all know that by All Star Break they will be in last…just goes to show you how crazy the first month can be. In 2008 we lost the first three series, I believe. It is a far cry from last season, I admit, but I have to BELIEVE that these boys will figure it out.

     
  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I’m not gonna freak out at all. Why? What for? It’s April and baseball is back in our lives. And if the Phils are out of it by the AS Break does that then mean that I can go to a game and not have to deal with all the frontrunners?

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Although it would be nice to attend games without dealing with those “frontrunners,” it’s those very people who are probably funding a large part of the Phils’ payroll. You’d better hope you still have to deal with them come the All Star break, or you may see the departure of Cole Hamels and the inability to replace some aging position players. Then you can really panic!

       
  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    i’m freaking out now! but silently lol. it’s only 4 games. i’m sure the brass is taking notes! sometimes it takes a bit to see if all the newer pieces are working out. if they’re not well at least we do have some options in the minors. they sent down a few guys who were actually hitting and playing better than the guys they kept. only the brass knows why they made those moves for whatever reason? i don’t know for sure but if we need some help there is some available. how long will it take for the brass to say oops! we made some bad moves at the end of ST. and give some of those guys a chance! pods, kratz, luna,montanez, plus some pitchers. who knows?

     
  • Posts: 0 Tom G

    i am already freaking out…
    living in Tampa, i go to plenty of ST games,…not much to write home about…however i never put much stock into spring W/L
    What i do put stock into, is the depth on the team. let’s look at the plus side first…
    Starting Pitching…solid…best in league or close to it…
    Veteran Leadership…plenty of it, some of the best in the league

    Weaknesses…
    AGE…from top to finish..
    PLATE PRES…no one really
    HIGH AVE… Ave hitters…we do not have a >300 hitter in the line-up
    HR/RBI…we do not have a bat that can consistently produce
    OBP…nuff said
    SPEED…our speed is older…easlily injured…
    BULLPEN—unproven until 9th inning

    This team is not a 90 win club…PITCHING is great…will keep us in games…but we will lose more one run games because we do not have clutch production…

    I see an 87 win time….

     
  • Posts: 0 upandaway

    I’d love to see Luna promoted. Not a major move, but could help in the long run.
    Howard may not be back before June, and Utley in May. Neither may be effective before the AS break. Give it til then. My bet?
    The rotation keeps us just over .500 in the 1st half. We get everyone healthy enough by October to peak in the playoffs. 90-92 wins, division title.
    Then?
    ’80-’08-’12

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I just don’t know where Luna would play. Seems like he is already on the team, going by the name of Wigginton. Orr at least gives you some ability to play 2nd and SS.

      Over the past 3 years, Luna’s games by position:

      1B – 46 in minors,
      2B – 10 in minors, 1 in majors
      SS – 1 in minors
      3B – 221 in minors, 4 in majors

       
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Two months. We should at least have a firmer time table for Utley and Howard by then.

    For now, all we need is for veterans who have consistently hit at a certain level, to get to somewhere close to that level.

    OPS so far, vs. OPS over their last three years…

    Rollins .500 vs. .719
    Polanco .368 vs. .712
    Mayberry .583 vs. .846
    Galvis .297 vs. (Martinez last year: .540)
    Wigginton .311 vs. .724
    Nix .200 vs. .767
    Pierre .444 vs. .680

    With the possible exception of Mayberry, there is no reason to think they won’t get close to their 3-year averages over the coming weeks. That alone will score more than enough runs to win games.

     
  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    To quote the philosopher Red McNertney, “Freaking out is part of the joy of baseball and following a team. I freak out every game I watch over something.”

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    I voted already freaked out however I don’t really freak out. As soon as Utley was not playing for two weeks in Spring Training I knew we were in big trouble. I was down in Clearwater and saw for myself.

    This team, without Howard has no power. Even with Howard there is only one and he can be pitched around. I was hoping for Mayberry but it seems he is having trouble with his mechanics.

    Don’t get me wrong, we have great starting pitching and closer. We have a decent outfield but the infield simply cannot generate hits and certainly not power. The window has closed. Even it Utley comes back we know it is not 2007-2009 Utley. I am hoping for 85 wins which might get us into the playoffs.

    Be realistic, look at competing lineups. We don’t have the hitters to win. I don’t blame anyone but Amaro mortgaged the future in order to keep us in the huint the last few years. We don’t have much of anything in terms of infielders coming up in the minors.

    I still love baseball and the Phils but contending is all we can hope for. Domination is behind us.

    I hope to eat these words.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Well, as long as they’re contending, the window is not closed. And I don’t see how they can not contend, barring significant new injuries.

       
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Wrong, IMO.

      This is essentially the same team that won 102 games last season. Let’s not all jump off the Ben Franklin after 4 games, ok?

       
  • Posts: 103 buffy08210

    Avatar of buffy08210

    Here’s an interesting site for five years from now (in humans):

    http://www.clinicaspace.com/News/novartis-ag-compound-spurs-cartilage-in-arthritic/255678

    For now there are polymers to be injected into Chase’s knees with a short recovery.The well documented and old procedure of micro drilling takes a long time to heal as has been noted. Should have been done last year, of course. I wonder if Chase just wants his money to sit on his kiester.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      LOL — yep, that’s really consistent with everything we know about Chase Utley. Un-freaking-believable.

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        (sarcasm — I thought it was obvious, but you never know).

         
      • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        It was obvious to me. Amazing that people would actually think or say something like that.

         
      • Posts: 0 George

        People–particularly idiots–can be prompted to say anything. They also have a tendency to believe internet articles they probably misread. I couldn’t access the link above, but I suspect if this thing says five years from now, there’s no way this compound could help Utley’s playing career or his 2012 season.

        And if polymers were a real possibility, I doubt if anyone would opt for microfracture surgery.

         
  • Posts: 5226 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I freaked out in 1971 when they only won 67 games and realized that they were only going to be worse in 72. Until / If they get to that point again, not a chance.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tom

    We knew coming into the season that it might be a struggle at first, so no one should be panicking yet! The Phils struggling in April shouldn’t surprise to anyone. Last year was an exception to the notorious slow start! We want to believe that we are becoming the Yankees of the NL, but do you hear any panic in NY when they start 0-3? And their pitching is in serious trouble without Pineda! Then again, patience has never been a virtue of your typical Phillies fan including myself…I must be mellowing with age!!

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Ok everyone – start listing the positives you have seen from these performances so far.
    Chooch has thrown out 1 runner, Reyes yesterday and that was great. Galvis had a hit and it really counted (he should have been on third base but lets not get greedy).
    Relief pitching? Nerp – the bench, Nix, Wiggington, Thome … nerp –
    Hitting with RISP – what are we at after yesterdays game, 4 for 19? Oh yes, how many hrs do the Phils have in 4 games so far?

    Doc’s performance, great
    Lee’s start, great
    Worley’s start – could not ask for more

    Anything else give anyone a thrill?
    Rollins being at the plate for probably an average of maybe 3 pitches (usually 2). Nix attempting a bunt? Really??

    Freaking out? Not neccesarily but dissapointed definitely.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      brooks, if you expect every 4-game stretch to give you a thrill, well, there aren’t many teams in the world that will satisfy you.

      You’re right about Rollins, by the way, he’s averaging 2.94, compared to a career average of 3.67, and last year’s 3.77. I think he belongs in the leadoff spot, at least vs. righties.
      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rolliji01-bat.shtml

       
      • Posts: 0 brooks

        Just to let you know how freaked I am Schmenk, when Stutesy started hitting the low and outside for strikes and hitting it hard I felt a rise in my fries.. but then he got the ball up and pop…
        Of course that was after the third out, when he got strike three Schnides couldn’t handle it and Wiggs couldn’t catch up to it.. giving the Pirates 4 outs to work with.

         
    • Posts: 0 George

      If you’re going to ask us to list positives, you shouldn’t put negatives in your post. It makes it seem as if you’re being sarcastic about the performances of Halladay, Lee, and Worley.

       
  • Posts: 0 Jaron B

    When is Utley coming back? I know he said there’s less pain this year than last year, but the evaluation date is set for June 1st (about two weeks after he came back last year).

    If Howard is not in the Minors by May 25th, I’ll panic then. I don’t know when I’ll panic about Utley.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Howard will likely be in the minors before the end of April.

      Utley, well, I have no idea. I don’t remember exactly what types of baseball activities he was doing at this point last season, so I can’t really make an educated comparison from which to estimate a return date. I suppose last year’s May 23rd return is possible, but it’s quite a ways off, considering he’s done basically zero baseball activities in recent weeks.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    1) Chase Utley may not come back this year;
    2) If he does, no one should expect him to be anything but average at best. When’s the last time he hit a baseball thrown by an actual pitcher?
    3) Ryan Howard will be lucky to get to 70% by September.

    If you believe the above then you should believe that this offense will be poor all year. I don’t expect a team that has Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins as its top three offensive threats to be anything but lousy. You could make an argument that our starting 2B, LF and 1B shouldn’t be starting in the major leagues. John Mayberry is “eh” even when surrounded by stars but when he is actually counted on to help produce…..you’ve got problems.

    Can’t panic though. Just gotta let it happen. Its gonna get bad. I hope not – but hope is not a strategy.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Hope is not a strategy. But neither is pessimism.

       
  • Posts: 14 arminius

    Avatar of arminius

    Logic tells you not to panic. It is only 4 games. Experience with the Phillies tells you to worry, if not panic.

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Really?

      Experience with the Phillies tells me to relax because they’re basically the same team that ran away with the division last season and have won the division five years running. Not sure what experience you’re referring to.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Say you think I’m wrong.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      You can’t be wrong yet, Dipsy, but there’s a range of viable scenarios, and yours is at the very pessimistic end of the range, and therefore, IMO, very likely to be wrong.

       
  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I don’t see Dipsy’s comment as either hopeful or pessimistic. It’s just what it is. Reality. And we all need to embrace it.

    Go Phillies!

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I suppose it’s all in how you read it.

      “1) Chase Utley may not come back this year;
      2) If he does, no one should expect him to be anything but average at best. When’s the last time he hit a baseball thrown by an actual pitcher?
      3) Ryan Howard will be lucky to get to 70% by September.

      If you believe the above then you should believe that this offense will be poor all year.”

      It IS reality that all those “If”s and “may”s might in fact happen, just as it’s reality that it’s possible Halladay, Lee, and Hamels will all suffer season-ending injuries by the end of April.

      What’s not reality yet is that any of that WILL happen, and I consider that series of “If”s one of the more pessimistic scenarios that might materialize.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I hope so Schmenkman – I really do. I think back to that playoff game and that 3-0 swing by Howard and then his last at bat and it truly makes me sick. I hate this team right now. I can’t stand watching them. I know in my heart that Utley is through, but we gotta do the dance until his last day as a Phillie. The comeback he’ll try and the knees breaking down again. I see it all coming and I don’t wanna go through it – the Phillies go through it. Not progressing with an alternative or new guy because they “owe” it to Chase somehow. Its gonna be Andrew Toney all over again – except that everyone will believe Chase when he says he’s hurt.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      They don’t owe it to Utley, all they owe him is the $30M that they are going to pay him no matter what.

      Considering that when he eventually came back last year he was one of the best second basemen in the league, they owe it to the team and the fans to see what he has left.

       
  • Posts: 0 Steve wulf

    Ive been freaking out sInce last year in the first Round of the post season…that’s when their offense mysteriously disappeared.

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    If Howard’s not back by June, I’m freaking out… full horseshoe.

    I think the offense will get better (certainly can’t get much worse) but I think we need to find our identity (it ain’t small ball). We have always been scrappy… sort of, do what it takes. If given the the chance, we’d try to get ahead early, get to the ‘pen and put teams away. If the bats weren’t swinging well, we’d always go down swinging… every at bat until the last out. This team always fought hard and never gave us any reason to be worried… they earned our trust. This is still the same team with a little more adversity. I trust they’ll grind it out but right now, they’re trying to be something they’re not… it’s an identity crisis fueled by panic.

    I might with a lineup like this:

    1. Rollins 2. Polanco 3. Pence 4. Vic 5. Ruiz 6. Mayberry 7. Wigg/Nix/Pierre 8. Galvis

    I wouldn’t mess with the first four… Rollins, Polly, Pence, Vic – Rollins is most comfortable in that leadoff, Polly has always been our 2, Pence is the best hitter and Vic, for what it’s worth, has always been able to move around the lineup and he was second on the team in extra base hits last year (60… Howard was first with 64). I think Vic can be a decent RBI guy in that cleanup spot… let him swing. Plus, you have to protect Pence and I think Vic is the only guy that will command any respect. I’m not sure about the rest. I’d think Chooch and Mayberry are sort of interchangeable except I think that Mayberry has bought into the presumption that he’s due for a regression. I have no faith in Wigg/Nix/Pierre and slightly less faith in Galvis but it’s what we’ve been dealt. Would have rather seen them keep Brown around (his 3 minor league RBI would be tied for the best on the team right now) but Rube didn’t think it was worth the risk, I guess.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Chuck, I think the players’ platoon splits matter (e.g. Pierre might be a fine leadoff hitter vs. lefties) — this is my take…

      http://www.thegoodphight.com/2012/4/9/2935630/phillies-platoon-splits-and-lineup-construction#comments

      vs. RHPs: Rollins, Polanco, Victorino, Thome, Pence, Ruiz, Mayberry, Galvis
      if no Thome: Rollins, Polanco, Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Ruiz, Nix, Galvis

      vs. LHPs: Pierre, Polanco, Victorino, Pence, Mayberry, Ruiz, Rollins, Galvis

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Swap Polanco and Ruiz and I’d be thrilled with these lineups.

        Well, not thrilled, exactly, because there’s no Utley, Howard or Brown, but, you know, as happy as I can be with that particular set of players.

         
  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I never really thought about putting Vic in the cleanup spot but what the hell….might as well try it. Absolutely agree that you have to try to protect Pence if possible. If Thome is in the lineup then you use him as your #4.

    I think Charlie’s gonna have to do a lot of juggling and mixing and matching right now….not exactly his comfort zone. But he can’t OVERmanage, either (leaving Galvis in yesterday showed faith in the youngster and was absolutely the right move – that went a long way towards building Galvis’ confidence).

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob Myers

    I hate it that people are saying it’s early in the season.

    That has nothing to do with it and makes concern look irrational.

    Fact is, this is the problem with them last year. This is the trend we all knew about. If they were 4-0 and had scored 6 runs a game, any fan paying attention would still be “concerned” about sustaining this.

    Stop suggesting this is panic. This is a valid concern for a line up that mediocre pitchers cut through like butter. Opposing pitchers now get very excited for the opportunity to pitch against this line up.

    Phillies fans are smart.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Not if they think the first 4 games are indicative of how this team will hit…

      OPS so far, vs. OPS over their last three years…

      Rollins .500 vs. .719
      Polanco .368 vs. .712
      Mayberry .583 vs. .846
      Galvis .297 vs. (Martinez last year: .540)
      Wigginton .311 vs. .724
      Nix .200 vs. .767
      Pierre .444 vs. .680

       
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    It’s a concern, Bob but saying that this was our “problem” last year is overshadowing the real problem. We won 102 games last year; the only real problem we ran into was that we played the Braves out of the postseason (and allowed the Cardinals to eek their way into the playoffs). The problem this year is that, without Howard, the lineup doesn’t have anyone with the skill set required to drive in runs. There are no feared hitters. This is where the Howard detractors lose their argument because we’re seeing that RBI’s are an important stat… Howard drives in runs. It’s what he does and it’s fairly important.

    Our strength is the same as it was last year – pitching and defense. We have to grind out wins and I think this team is capable of doing that… they always have been. It’s just that everyone is under a lot more pressure without Howard and they’re trying to do things they’re not accustomed to doing.

    The bottom line… Charlie needs to look these guys square in the eyes and tell them to stop buying into the premise that they don’t have enough offense. It’s an excuse… losers buy into excuses. The fact is, there are FIVE guys in the starting lineup (six if you include Thome) that have received MVP votes… I’d challenge you to find another team in the NL that can say that. This is a very capable team… these guys just didn’t forget how to hit overnight. It comes down to finding the killer instinct and believing that they are better than their opponent.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I think everyone in the clubhouse knows it’s only 4 games, and that they’ve gone through lots of 4-game slumps much worse than this one.

      Also, last year, their strength was ptching and defense — as well as the league’s highest-scoring offense for the last two thirds of the season, once Utley returned.

       
      • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

        It’s crazy to panic after the first four games in April and I still believe that their pitching is strong enough to carry them even if their offense doesn’t do much BUT the Giants had great pitching last year (second lowest runs allowed per game to the Phils) and didn’t make the playoffs because their offense was deplorable. The Phils have to swing the bats better… no way around it but they will because this is basically the same team that scored all of those runs after June last season. I trust these guys… we all should.

         
  • Posts: 0 JohnMatrix

    Pat, any fan who has followed the phillies wasnt expecting them to win the series in pitt. i just hope they never have to play a playoff series there.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I would not be concerned about ANYTHING after four games. Four games is nothing. My concern started well before the gamers even started to be played. This lineup is terrible…just awful. They’re not gonna hit now….or in May….or June. Very bad personnel. What an unenviable position to be in to have to sit and wait for your star players who may or may not come back.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    As stated earlier I am 100% with Dipsy.

    My concern started in February with the disappearing Utley. It has nothing to do with the first four games. It has to do with the lineup.

    This is NOT the team that won 102 games. That team had Howard for virtually the full season. This one will miss him for minimum 50 games. That one had Utley coming back, this one does not have him.

    Anyone can tell you that Howrd’s injury takes a year before full recovery. You cannot expect him back soon and even then he will not be the same until 2013.

    Pence and Victorino are solid players but not power hitters. Everyone else is either getting old or not a hitter.

    We still have great pitching which should keep us in games. But let’s pay attention to better teams in the division which will cut back on our win total.

    I am hoping for 85 wins but it will not be pretty.

     
    • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      And 85 wins may…or may not….get us a playoff berth.

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      Maybe right now this isn’t the team that won 102 games. But bear in mind that last years team didn’t have Utley at the beginning, either, and Howard was not 100% the last couple of months. There’s no way you can say Utley won’t be back ; no one knows when, but not one medical expert has said he’s done for the year. And while Howard may not be 100% this season, either, he’ll still drive in some runs, same as he did last year with his bum foot.

      Then there are these other factors: last year’s bench was abominable, and the Phil’s outfield until July featured Francisco, Brown, and Ibanez. This year, Pence will be with the team the entire season, and the over-the-hill Ibanez has been replaced with potentially better bats in Mayberry and Pierre (Okay, Pierre has no power. But he still gets hits). Those two also have more speed.

      The offense is, of course, a concern with two run producers out, but it’s not nearly as dismal as people seem to think. Players are in a slump, and slumps do tend to correct themselves.

       
  • Posts: 1 mls

    Avatar of mls

    If your looking for a team to go to the World Series, the Phillies are in trouble. Their position players are old. I don’t know if Utley when he comes back (if he comes back) will be the Utley of 3 to 4 yrs ago. Whether we like it or not, it is time to rebuild before it is too late. Cole and Roy might be trade bait for some good position players and pitching prospects. I don’t think that the Phillies can affort the money Cole will demand. I don’t want to lose him for nothing. Roy wants to win a World Series. Last year was their last chance. I believe he would accept a trade to World Series contender. Reason, he came to Philadelphia because he thought that the Phillies could win. I love my Phillies but I am a realist. If the Phillies hang on to the notion that this team can win, in a couple of years this team will be an also ran.. Also without hitting the pitching will suffer. Too much pressure of the pitchers.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Utley will not be the Utley of 3-4 years ago, and that would have been true for any 33-year-old, even a completely healthy one. But a 2011 Utley is still one of the best second basemen in the game, so if he can give them 100 games or so, that will be hard to improve upon.

      Of course this team can win. Hang in there — they had worse 4-game stretches than this many times every year.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Now that mis had broached the subject, if they’re not gonna sign Cole, and every day that goes by the chances of that happening become less and less, then trade him. Have to. You just can’t let him finish the season and then get into a war with the other teams that are gonna bid for him and then lose him with nothing in return.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    You guys need to chill…

     
 
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