Fresh off the longest win-streak of the 2013 season, the Philadelphia Phillies are back at .500 (30-30) which leaves a very important question to be asked: Who are these guys?
I don’t know. Charlie Manuel doesn’t know. Ruben Amaro Jr. definitely doesn’t know. In the not so distant future, the front office of this ball club is going to have to make a definite move that shapes the remainder of the season.
Certainly, Domonic Brown is having the best season of his career. Leading the national league in home runs, being named the NL Player of the Month, and earning the NL Player of the Week award back-to-back are all incredibly positive feats that can offer hope for this ball club.
Roy Halladay gave more hopeful news in his press conference this week, alluding to the fact that he will return this season and his surgery went successfully as expected. Doc even noted that his range of motion, even a mere week after the surgery, is better than it has been in years. All signs point to him returning to the lineup this summer, possibly healthier than he’s ever been in a Phillies uniform.
Howard, Utley, and Ruiz were all playing at the start of this season, but have had their own obstacles to overcome. Howard has been consistent, but below average, in his offensive output and would even tell you himself that he’s not living up to his potential. Utley and Ruiz have both been riddled with injuries that leave question marks around their contributions come “make-a-run” time, if that ever happens.
Which leads to the less-desired question that the Phillies front-office will have to answer: Is it time to abandon ship?
Up until 4 days ago, the Phillies looked all but doomed. Michael and Delmon Young have just not lived up to the expectations we had going into this season. Michael Young is second in the league for GIDP and boasts a meager 10 RBIs. Their defense has definitely been the major reason for their playing time.
No one expected Cole Hamel’s record to be 2-9 at this point, but our offense (and his pitching in some cases) has been less than consistent. Cliff Lee trade rumors have been coming out of the wood-works. Lee, when questioned on whether he thinks he will get traded or not, even admitted that he thought it was likely. He certainly stands as the most valuable commodity the organization has, and if they decide to pump the brakes for this season, consider him gone.
That’s what it really all boils down to for this club. The consistency just simply hasn’t been there. Winning spurts like the one we are currently in (knocks on wood) are few and far between. The losses have been just too discouraging at times. The next month is going to be pivotal. The hump of .500 has finally been conquered, but all too often do I hear the phrase “gain some momentum” being used without any follow through.
I’ve seen stranger things happen… but just don’t get your hopes too high Phillies fans.
This post was written by Randy Neil