Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Send Pitching

There is still a lot of baseball left in this season but the likelihood the Phils will be playing after Sunday, September 28, looks more and more remote unless they land a starting pitcher. They cannot keep running Adam Eaton out there every fifth day and expect to compete.

When the alleged brain trust sits down to assess the situation the facts are these:

1. Cole Hamels is the only quality starting pitcher on the 40-man roster.
2. Kyle Kendrick remains a work in progress.
3. Jamie Moyer, whose real name is 45-year old Jamie Moyer, can expect to wear down as the dog days are upon them.
4. J.A. Happ has two major league starts under his belt.
5. Adam Eaton can be counted on for one thing only, to give up runs right out of chute and put his mates in a hole.
6. Brett Myers threw his first decent game in months last night, alas, against AAA competition.

That rotation has in general managed to perform fairly well over the last few months as the offense sputtered through fits and starts, but this sextet isn't going to dominate anyone.

Even were the Phils to pick up an arm that could help, the offense cannot continue to drift in and out of consciousness as it has done the last several weeks. Few are the games they've played in which the Phils jumped out to a lead. They are always playing catchup, and though they excelled at that sort of high wire act last season, this is a different year.

They've now lost seven of their last eight series and seen their lead over Florida cut to 1.5 games and 2.5 over NY. A few weeks ago they led NY by seven games.

The Mets, on the other hand, look like they have settled down. In taking 3 of 4 from the Phillies this past weekend, the New Yorkers got good pitching, timely and frequent hitting and good defense. Moreover, they built up their confidence in going head to head with the Phillies. The NL East looks to be a three-team race, with Florida being the other contender. Most folks think the young Marlins will fade down the stretch, and they might; but they can hit a ton, which should always keep them in the ballgame, especially against the kind of pitching one of their chief rivals keeps trotting out nearly every night.

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