It’s been an interesting week for the Phillies and the looming questions of whether we are buying or selling keeps getting postponed with each victory. Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been very vocal about his trade-deadline decisions and the weight he puts on these current series to affect them.
Essentially, if we continue to have success, then he isn’t going to “sell” off some of our assets, and if we come up short in making up some ground in the division, then he’ll most likely tank the team for the rest of the season and begin trading players. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ruben.
Amaro, Jr. was very critical of Ryan Howard before his injury came to light, stating that he was playing below his potential and not living up to his contract. A contract, mind you, that Amaro Jr. was very pivotal in creating. There’s a lot of criticism I have for RAJ, but putting these intense expectations on a team right before the trade deadline may be one of the worst yet.
Sure, this past week has been pretty delightful. There’s a lot more passion than usual and these divisional series have been great. One question, though:
What happens if the Phillies lose tonight? It’s a very realistic scenario that could bring this high soaring fantasy back to a reality.
With these two wins against the Nationals, I’ve seen an onslaught of Phillies fans claiming we need to stay the course and that our comeback is right around the corner. There’s arguments to support it, and there’s plenty of arguments against it.
A startling fact that CSN made me aware of is our starting rotation’s quality start output. Through the first half of our season, even with the injuries to Lannan and Halladay, the Phillies have led the majors with 58 quality starts. In spite of Hamels’ poor record, almost everyone is aware that it doesn’t reflect his skill level and potential. Perhaps that is indicative of our entire season and entire team. Maybe, we are finally righting this ship and our talent is starting to catch up to our record.
There’s still huge inconsistencies with our offense. Ryan Howard being out 6-8 weeks, regardless of what anyone says, is still a huge hurdle in this rally to become relevant again. In spite of Domonic Brown’s stellar All-Star caliber first half, our offense has been outscored by leaps and bounds drawing huge question marks around this trade deadline.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to keep this entire team together and make a push towards the playoffs. The NL Central essentially has dibs on the two wildcard spots, so I see our best hope being the division title. If the past week has been any indication of our drive and talent, then things seem hopeful.
The question remains, though: If we lose tonight, or tomorrow, or both… what does that mean for us then?
This post was written by Randy Neil