As you may or may not know by now, I am an admitted fan of the sometimes hapless Philadelphia Phillies, the back-to-back defending National League champions, and 2008 World Series champs, of recent successes. They have a lovable, albeit feisty manager, Charlie Manuel, who’s already been ejected from 5 games this year, and probably ain’t done with that number yet. They started out this season like they were ready to win another NL title, and were pretty much on fire, despite losing a few key players to trades and injuries. As for the injuries, it also seems that every time they get a good player back from the disabled list, another player or two, gets hurt. Right now, one of the best players in the game, Chase Utley, is out, and even had to miss the all- star game because of his injury. To top that off, Jamie Moyer, who, at 47 years young, was having a hallmark season before a crucial elbow injury, possibly ending his season, as he climbed near the top of the list for all- time strikeouts and wins. And, although the Phillies have filled the holes with some very apt players, like Cody Ransom and Jay Happ, its really hard to replace the charisma that these key players bring to the table.
So, that being said, as of now, the Phillies sit 4 and a- half games back in the NL eastern division, despite winning their last 5 games. Before that, they had a road trip where they lost 5 out of 7 games. In their losses, and even in some of their wins, they look, at best, mediocre. However, all is not lost, as the saying goes, and on some recent occasions, like this recent home stand, they look like the champions that we’ve become accustomed to seeing the past 2 years or so. But, even with the current 8- game home winning streak, do we see the Phillies now starting to turn around, and playing consistently well enough to overtake the Atlanta Braves in their division?….Uh, yeah, don’t hold yer breath. Although the Phillies have been known for their accomplished road win- loss records in the past, this season, it seems to spell death to the Phillies-like, following the 4- game home sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, in which 3 games went extra innings going into the all- star break, followed by the aforementioned 5- out- of 7 road losing debacle. When the Phillies returned home from that road trip, they found themselves 7 games back in the NL east.
Now, the fun part- Even though still being on a homestand, WHICH Phillies team will show up to play tomorrow, or the next day, or…well, you get the picture…Dr. Jekyll, the team that hits, pitches and fields like the defending National League champs of the past two years, or Mr. Hyde, the team that couldn’t hit the side of a barn, it seems, or pitching that can’t find the strike zone, or even the Ozone layer? Well, as the famous saying goes, “Stay tuned, and find out!”