Hump Day Report: Phillies’ ‘Golden Era’ Gone?
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.
Just when Phillies fans were finally throwing off the decades-in-the-making yoke of negativity thanks to the five straight years of post-season success and a World Series win in 2008, the golden era feels like it has abruptly ended.
Yes, they finally hit a few homers in a win against a bad Arizona Diamondbacks team but it has been truly depressing to watch the Phillies this year.
Where are the Ryan Howard bashers now? I’d take a bunch of strikeouts to see The Big Piece send a big fly deep into the seats at CBP.
And, yes, I’m still mad at Chase Utley. He had to know he was having problems with his knees before spring training. He really hurt the team by hiding his condition for so long. However, if he comes back and can really play like the Chase of old, all will be forgiven; such is the nature of sporting devotion.
We knew this team was getting older, but it feels like AARP central. We brought in what we hoped would be a strong bench, but with Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton starting so much, the bench features Peter Orr and Jim Thome, and should feature Placido Polanco. Polanco can still play a good third base, but his lack of production in the two hole is killing us.
Talk about AARP, that is a fork sticking out of Thome’s backside. He is done and should be let go or traded to an American League team before the All-Star break. Charlie Manual figured out that Dontrelle Willis was done in spring training, but he didn’t notice that Thome was cooked as well? Charlie has to remove his rose-colored glasses and really see that nothing is left in his friend’s tank.
While April has been bleak for the offense, the pitching is as good as we hoped. You had to feel really bad for Cliff Lee when he pitched 10 shutout innings and had a no-decision to show for it He has a 1.96 ERA and a 0-1 record. Cole Hamels has already showed signs of losing his cool at no offensive support (he has been the bad luck pitcher the last few years when its comes to run support), and Doc Halliday is just looking intense and mowing ’em down inning after inning. Papelbon has been solid with six saves out of the Phillies eight wins. Vance Worley has avoided the sophomore slump so far.
A few moves that have worked out are Juan Pierre as a lead-off hitter, and so far his weak arm in left hasn’t hurt us too much. Other than the pitchers, one player it has been a pleasure to watch is Freddy Galvis. The rookie shortstop, converted to second baseman to take over for Utley, is as good defensively as we’ve been led to believe. He has made enough great plays already for a highlight reel. Hunter Pence is pressing as the clean-up hitter, but he’s been getting his stroke going of late. Shane Victorino leads the team in RBIs with nine.
The Phillies have been in last place in the NL East for most of the month, currently 5 1/2 games behind the division leading Washington Nationals. No, that is not a typo; the Nationals are 13-4 to the Phillies 8-10.
After five years of bliss as a Phillies fan, this feeling of dread when watching a game is flooding back, all too familiar. When my Mom called me at 10:30pm the other night, I knew what she wanted to take about. Yes, Mom the Phillies really do stink right now.
Here is my response — let’s go Flyers!