Every time a runner arrives at first or third base and the coach walks over to him, places his arm on his shoulder and points somewhere on the field I ask myself, “What could they be talking about that the player doesn’t or shouldn’t already know?”
Now, I realize a rookie or veteran new to the league might need some instruction. So-and-so has a gun for an arm so make sure the ball is hit deep enough. They’re playing back, conceding a run. Go on contact. Something on that order. But what instructions does a veteran need? Play it half way on a fly ball? Well, I guess if that veteran is Pat Burrell he needs more coaching than I ever imagined.
Considering Burrell’s many base-running adventures of the recent past, I would suggest the Phils just let him hit not run. I’m sure in the late innings that is precisely what we will see. Speed, of course, is not my point. Keeping his head in the game is.
All of this preamble is really about the mistakes the Phillies continue to make. At the plate, on the bases, and especially in the field.
The horrible fielding continues to mystify everyone. Stupid mistakes. Endless mistakes. Costly mistakes. Guys not communicating. Guys not concentrating. And guys simply not executing.
There are some bright spots despite all the gaffes. Once again, when Jimmy ignites this team, they win. Any talk of moving him out of the leadoff position is premature at this point. Yes, his OBP is lousy for a lead-off guy. That will change. The Phillies haven’t been losing primarily because Jimmy has been struggling until recently. They have been losing because their starting pitching has been struggling. But when Jimmy is rolling this team catches fire.
There is good news, too. The relief corps has been largely outstanding. Even MIA Aaron Fultz showed up last night and pitched well. And Flash Gordon must have sent a note in from the bullpen that, yes, he loves to pitch all the time, but on second thought maybe he should skip a day now and then. So in steps Arthur Rhodes who records his first save since 2004.
The five game winning streak is great. Back at sea level for the first time since the season began. All that can be said is the Phillies are happy to be lucky rather than good.