Posted by Eric Seidman, Sun, July 29, 2012 05:37 PM Comments: 56
The Phillies entered this weekend’s series with the Braves fresh off of their first sweep of the season. While they didn’t fire on all cylinders against the Brewers — they won on three late-inning comebacks — the team showed signs of life. It played more like squads from years past than the disappointing 2012 version. The sweep helped them stay somewhat relevant in the playoff picture, as a healthy lineup with Halladay returned to the rotation had the potential to do some damage over the next two months.
While there truly isn’t precedent for a team this far under .500, this late in the season, to surge back and grab a playoff berth, it’s also hard to imagine many instances where a team this talented on paper played so sluggishly for three or four months.
Then this series happened. The Phillies were sluggish in the crucial series opener, fell flat again on Saturday night and struggled to do anything positive this afternoon. The result was a three-game sweep that effectively negated everything they did in the Brewers series and put the team back at the proverbial square one. Roy Halladay pitched better than he did in his previous start, but didn’t look Doc-esque, and the offense struggled to capitalize on the seven hits they recorded against Tim Hudson. It was an extremely disappointing series on all fronts: offense, defense and pitching.
I tend to avoid absolutes whenever possible, but this sweep sure seems like the nail in the coffin for the Phillies playoff hopes. And though that is initially disappointing, there is a positive for those subscribing to the glass half-full theory: now that the team is effectively out of it, Ruben Amaro doesn’t have to remain in limbo with regards to the trade deadline.