Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Running In Place

These guys sure don't look like they are focused. Last night's white-washing makes three straight losses during which they stranded a week's worth of base-runners. In a division ripe for picking, the Phils are unable to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the contenders. Frankly, I think the manager shares a great deal of the responsibility.

Only yesterday Charlie Manuel was quoted as saying Jayson Werth was going to be his every-day centerfielder. So, naturally, Shane Victorino started there last night. Now, Victorino was the proper choice given the Phils were facing a right-hander who gives them fits, but the timing of Manuel's remarks reveals if nothing else he has trouble thinking ahead a day or two let alone an inning or two. There were other questionable decisions last night including starting Pedro Feliz against a righty when Greg Dobbs was available and hot. Yes, it's nice to have Pedro's glove in there, but right now it's the offense that is sputtering, not the defense.

Brett Myers started the game and though credited with a "quality start", one of this era's most offensive stats, he looked less than impressive, especially early. He is far from working out whatever problems have reduced him to a less-than quality starter. He was in constant trouble through the first three innings and was down a run before his mates came to bat in the second inning. Having spent time on the DL last season, it's time to send him for an MRI even if the medical and pr staffs cannot agree on an interpretation of the results.

The Phillies bunched together a lot of hits early against Tim Redding but failed to get a single clutch one. They also wasted two inning-leadoff doubles by Geoff Jenkins, starting against the right-handed Redding.

At this juncture, the quarter pole, the Phillies look like the mediocre team their record reflects. Only the bullpen, less than stellar lately, has surprised on the plus side thus far this season. The offense is down; the defense is down; and the starting pitching is down. Only two games over .500, the Phils have dropped to third place in the division, 1.5 games behind the surprising Florida Marlins. No one appears to be running away with the division, but the Phils, running in place, aren't making a move, either.

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