Forget the starting pitchers, Ryan Howard should sue for support!!
Every time the phenomenal sophomore performs another prodigious feat, his mates try their best to ruin the occasion. In the last five games they have succeeded three times and in the process the Phillies’ Wild Card chances diminish and Howard’s big moments are overshadowed.
The simple truth is the Phillies are not quite good enough to get over the hump. The reasons are many, but we can start with a third baseman who cannot hit, a right/left fielder who has fallen back to earth, a bullpen that is overworked, and a closer who can’t. Despite Chris Coste’s magical season, catching is another problem area if for no other reason than it is a revolving door at precisely a spot in the lineup that begs for constancy. Throw in Chase Utley’s continued funk (despite two home runs Saturday his average has dropped 23 points since his consecutive hitting streak ended) and you have all the ingredients for a mediocre (read .500) team.
Those who looked at the remaining schedule a week ago and licked their chops at the prospect of playing all of those sub-.500 teams neglected one point: the Phils aren’t much better. As if to underscore their own average profile, the Phillies blew late leads in two games for the first time in 62 chances this season. Killer instinct is not a description associated with a pedestrian club. The secret to success has always been to play .500 ball against the top teams and dominate the mediocre ones.
It hasn’t happened and isn’t likely to change.