It wasn’tt a good week for the Phillies in NYC. It all began with the All Star festivities highlighted by Domonic Brown’s omission from the home run derby. Despite his prodigious home run stretch in the 1st-half David Wright didn’t seem to think he deserved a spot. Pedro Alvarez’s poor showing made the case for Brown on it’s own, but it was just a silly home run derby after all. If you’re still upset that Brown didn’t get to showcase his power, just think back to what the derby did to Bobby Abreu’s power stroke.
Cliff Lee and Brown both saw the field in the mid summer classic, but their performances left something to be desired. Exhibition games are tough (even if they determine home field in the World Series) especially for a starting pitcher. The only real highlight of the game was the love fest heaped upon the soon to retire Mariano Rivera. The future hall of famer received a sentimental MVP award for his troubles.The best part of the game for Lee and Brown was they didn’t have to go anywhere for their weekend series against the Mets.
Friday got off to a good start, with the Phillies putting on a home run derby of their own. One game over .500 tasted oh so sweet, but it was not meant to last. The Phils finished the short week 1-2, and are once again treading water with the trade deadline looming ever closer.
Game of the Week:
With so few to choose from, the only choice was the Phillies lone win on Friday night. A win against the Mets at Citi Field always feels good no matter what, but hanging 13 runs on David Wright and Co. was a treat. If you were late to the game (like myself) you had to to check your eyes to make sure the score was correct. The Phils took an 11-0 lead into the bottom of the 3rd inning backed by homers from Brown and Young, and hits from nearly everyone else in the lineup. It’s easy to lose focus with such a big lead, accounting for the Mets late surge, but the Phils 13-8 win was never close. Chase Utley added a long ball for insurance that not even our bullpen could blow. Yes, the rest of the weekend did not go our way, but for one night this lineup was unstoppable.
Player of the Week:
Chase hit the ground running to start the 2nd half tearing the cover off the ball. He finished the weekend series against the Mets going 5-12 with 2 homers and 6 runs batted in. Many of my colleagues are nervous at the thought that this may be the last we get to enjoy of Chases sweet swing. It’s unlikely he gets traded at this point, but his pending free agency leaves his long term future up in the air.
When healthy (which has been a big question mark) there are not many in the game at Utley’s level of pure hitting ability. I understand the need to get younger, and I’m even quietly rooting for some shakeup, but losing Utley would just be too much. I know a GM can’t be sentimental, but as fans we sure as heck can be. After all, this guy helped us win a Word F*&king Series!
The Phillies are facing the final “make-or-break” stretch this week. I hate how often the term “must-win” is thrown around by hacks such as myself, but six road games in St. Louis and Detroit will tell us exactly what RAJ and Co. will be doing at the deadline when its all said and done. The bad news is these two teams are arguably the best in baseball, and play extremely well in their home parks. The good news is the Phillies will miss Adam Wainright and Justin Verlander (Breaths sigh of relief). A 3-3 week would normally be an accomplishment given the opponents, but management will need to see a winning record at weeks end to stave off the dreaded sell-a-thon. Oh, and it’s the much anticipated return of Delmon Young to Detroit! (Don’t get too excited)