Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Zombie Phillies Shamble On

Oh Dear
Today in South Philadelphia, the town team disabled contract albatross Ryan Howard, called up future flameout Darin Ruf, and started 5th starter John Lannan against the Nationals in the latest of a long series of Dammit You've Got To Win Now Or The Team's Getting Broken Up games. Lannan pulled out his best start in four years against his old laundry, Jonathan Papelbon failed so spit the bit despite considerable effort, and the "good" guys won, 3-2.

Which gives them their fifth win in seven games, snapped the Nats' 5-game winning streak, and raised the Phillies' won/loss record to... 44-46, 7.5 games back in the East, 6.5 back from the wild card.

And, um, woo.

But maybe I'm being mean here. They've won back to back series against first place clubs, having gone 2-1 against Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Ben Revere got his average up to .300 after starting the year so bad, some in the fan base were actually hoping for more John Mayberry Jr. in their life. Ruf went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI while hitting in the seven hole and not committing an error. But there's still such a sense of meh about this whole team. They beat Dan Haren tonight, and Dan Haren's just terrible any more. Their run differential is still -46,the fourth worst mark in the NL, ahead of only the Marlins, Brewers and Padres. It goes beyond hard to see how this collection of talent is going to be substantially better than the Nats and Braves for the rest of the year, especially with Roy Halladay still months away from being a more active disappointment, and an offense where the only guy having a good year by his career standards is, I guess, Revere. The wild card is a fools' errand, and the vibe of the park just isn't great. There are empty seats where there hasn't been any, a sense that if they don't deal Chase Utley and Cliff Lee now, while both are healthy, it's a missed opportunity...

Well, I hope I'm wrong. I hope they somehow go on a run and be fun to watch, that they take advantage of some home cooking to finally get hot, that Domonic Brown can be the best right fielder in the National League, and that they are the second half club that they've been so often in this, the tail end of the best run in the history of the franchise.

But it just doesn't feel that way, even when they are winning.

Moving on...

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