It isn’t easy being two games out of first place five days after the season gets underway. I guess it is a good thing the Phils aren’t playing in the NL Central or they’d be three back.
It’s even more daunting to realize the Phils will look to a previously shell-shocked deer-in-the-headlights young hurler to stop the bleeding when the Dodgers come to town this evening. Who knows, maybe a kid without much history or perspective on it will be an improvement.
A few things are already clear after the series with the Cardinals.
If I were Charlie Manuel I would cringe should some reporter raise the “vote of confidence” issue any time soon. This manager is definitely on the bubble. It isn’t unheard of for a team to jettison its manager in the first month of the season and from all appearances GM Pat Gillick is not timid or sentimental when it comes to making dramatic decisions.
It is astonishing how quickly the Phillies have squandered the good will and expectations of the local fans, especially given the opportunity they had in light of recent local disaffection with the Eagles. But they have. In today’s Inquirer, the most prominent story on page one of the sports section is the Eagles schedule for next season. Schedule!! Not even practice. Stories about the end of J-Roll’s streak and the third straight loss to the Cards are at the top of the page, but the banner headline above the fold is still all Eagles all the time.
As if things were not bad enough in the stands, I imagine more than a few players took note of the opening day introduction booing of Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal. I’m sure Pat Burrell noticed. And I’m sure newcomers like Aaron Rowand and Ryan Franklin noticed, too.
Finally, I know every blogger with an internet connection will have something to say about this, but I cannot refrain from asking what in the world is David Bell doing in the lineup versus a right hander? Hasn’t Manuel learned anything from experience? And can any of you who maintain he is a very good fielder still, pardon the pun, defend that position? Abraham Nunez should be playing against right-handers, which is to say, nearly every day. If nothing else, the lineup, which has been debated ad nauseu, still finds George S’s Black Hole intact at the bottom. It is imperative Manuel break it up and he can start by sitting Bell.