Charlie Manuel has looked happier. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
It feels as though the word “reeling” was invented specifically to describe the current state of the Philadelphia Phillies.
They were beaten again by the Cardinals in St. Louis last night, 3-1, as the best team in baseball swept a crucial series from a Phils team that is quickly drowning in a sea of losses.
And as the team prepares to extend Chase Utley for more years and dollars than would probably be wise, the players on the field continue to show management that the wisest course of action would be to begin trading away some pieces that could help this team win in the future.
Because it’s unimaginable that the team that played against the Cardinals on Thursday night as any chance whatsoever.
For the second straight game, Delmon Young batted cleanup against a right-handed pitcher.
Read that sentence again, guys.
Oh my sweet merciful Moses.
Luckily, thanks to another loss by the struggling Braves, the Phils remain in second place, tied with the Nationals, still eight games behind Atlanta in the NL East. But none of that seems to matter right now. The Phils have lost five straight, and are now 49-53. All those series the team won before the All Star break appears to be what many feared it was… just a mirage. And with just a week before the trade deadline, the Phillies appear to be making Ruben Amaro‘s decisions a lot easier.
"“We’re all very aware of what time of year it is,” third baseman Michael Young said after the game. “But we’re not going to get wrapped up in that. What’s going to happen is going to happen. We need to focus on improving and playing better baseball.” – quotes per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki"
Michael Young could be the first person traded. The Yankees and Red Sox are said to be hot on his trail, with other teams poised to make an offer for him as well. And while Amaro certainly isn’t going to go into full-on sale mode (especially if he’s not going to trade Utley), he should at least be receptive to offers on anyone and everyone on the roster.
Not only that, only two teams in the National League have at least the same, or a worse run differential than the -59 the Phils are currently hauling around (Miami’s -93 and San Francisco’s -59).
As for the play on the field, the offense was shut down once again by Lance Lynn, a decent pitcher who the Phillies made look like Matt Harvey. They managed just one run and five hits off him last night in seven innings of work and only had seven hits on the night as a whole, with just one of them, a Jimmy Rollins double, for extra bases.
On the mound, Kyle Kendrick had a typical Kyle Kendrick game, which is to say, he was good enough to win but not overly dominant. Kendrick lasted six innings and gave up three runs on five hits, with two walks and a strikeout. It was certainly good enough to win a ballgame, if his offense had any kind of pulse whatsoever.
Now the Phillies prepare to start a three-game series in Detroit against the defending AL champs tonight. They come into the Motor City undermanned, outgunned, and suffering from a lack of confidence.
"“We’re in a rough patch right now,” Kendrick said. “We haven’t been consistent all year. We’ve looked good at times, but not consistent with everything. Hopefully we can start playing better. We have a short time to turn it around. I have faith in these guys. That’s for sure.”"
Here’s what else is for sure.
This is not a playoff team. Decisions about the franchise should be based with this knowledge in hand.
Your move, Rube.