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The Beginning of the End for the Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 25, 2012 01:12 PM | Comments: 5
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Was it over before it began because of a missing Howard? (PHOTO: AP)

…Or maybe the beginning of the end was really nine days ago when the Phillies lost three-of-four to the worst team in the NL, the Houston Astros. Maybe it was the beginning of the end when Carlos Ruiz went down with a foot injury and missed the dog days of summer. Maybe it was the beginning of the end when Roy Halladay tried to fight through shoulder trouble (as Corey Seidman mentions here) and ended up on the DL for nearly two months.

That occurred in late May, so perhaps the beginning of the end was before that even; you could pinpoint the abhorrent bullpen as a main culprit to a lost season, a good, but not great, Jonathan Papelbon as a squeaky wheel, or from the beginning, the lack of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the middle of the lineup killing their chances.

It all comes into play, but just ahead for the Phillies; the final nine games of a Wild Card chase that has no positive ending. They stand five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals to be the second team for a one-game elimination challenge. They’ll fight to the finish, however, no good will come from it.

Instead of basking in the fact that the Phillies are inching closer to making a valiant second-half comeback just before the final buzzer, we’re left with so many questions heading into 2013. Just nine games separate us from the fact that the good times are over, that an era of baseball not seen in Philadelphia is coming to an abrupt close. And that so much uncertainty lay just ahead.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. How could a team that set a franchise record with 102 wins last season be any worse than a 92-win team? The Aces are still in place, Chase Utley will be ready for opening day, and Ryan Howard could be back in May. The bullpen is still a strength, the offense is a little shaky, but the bench is stronger. This is still a playoff team.

All thoughts from late February-early March. Not many believed a rapid fall from grace was imminent, but here we are. Mere days away from the final nail being driven into the coffin of a season that turned out to be dead long ago.

Then again, there’s always next year.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1709 articles on Phillies Nation.

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

 
 
  • Posts: 120 Dave P

    Avatar of Dave P

    Darin Ruf’s first start tonight! Give the young guy some playing time.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Realistically, there were a lot of question marks even before the season started. Utley was questionable from the get-go; even if Howard did return in May, there were definite concerns about whether he could actually perform; the bullpen was not the same as 2011 with the absence of Madson and Conteras, Oswalt was gone and although Worley seemed a good replacement, there should have been concerns about his second year adjustments; and the team was going to rely on an unproven left-fielder in Mayberry, and an aging veteran as his back-up or platoon mate.

    Any expectations for this team were mostly just optimism, and there were quite a few people who were voicing concern even before the cracks showed themselves. Fans just had a tendency to ignore those people.

     
  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Definitely the recipe for failure. I think that if the starters could have produced in similar fashion to what we saw in 2010 & 2011 the Phils would still be in the race for the WC at least. As it was, Worley down, Doc way off and then the debacle of our pen. What a mess this year. Who in the world could have predicted what happened with Qualls, Contreras, even Bastardo at times..

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Actually, there were quite a few people who were predicting that Qualls would not be good (although, granted, most didn’t predict total disaster) and experts all questioned whether he could be effective (he’s a flyball pitcher) in a small park. There were also a number of fans who thought that Contreras could be a wreck after his elbow problems from the previous year. Bastardo was also a question mark after his 2011 second half meltdown.

      The real surprises to me were Halladay and the bad luck/poor outings of Cliff Lee, and the horrible outfield defense in right field.

      There were some good surprises, too, though: Ruiz, Pierre, and the steady improvement of Kendrick.

       
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    If the Phils even played just .500 ball in June, their record would put them a half game behind the Cards.

    George you started to mention the offense. How badly did Rollins play for most of the year? JMJ? Even Poly? Without Howard & Utley for over half the season, what real production did the Phils get from Galvis, Nix, Wiggington? Lets not forget Victorino, his worst season as a professional. Pence can be tossed into the mix as well, nothing outstanding there.

    More pleasant surprises, Kratz and Frandsen.

     
 
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