Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Playing From Behind

These Phillies seem intent on outslugging the opposition...that is when they actually hit the ball. Therein lies the rub. When they're on, the Phils offense is lethal; when they aren't, they need good starting pitching which has been in very short supply since day one.

No matter how many runs they score, the Phillies aren't going deep into the post-season (assuming they get there in the first place) unless the starting rotation sorts itself out and fast. They are giving up home runs at a prodigious rate. Worse, the starters are normally putting the team in an early hole and while nearly every victory this season has been of the come-from-behind variety, crowd pleasers to be sure, this trend will be awfully hard to maintain over 162 games.

The bullpen, last year's biggest collective surprise and arguably the key to its championship, has also been erratic. Where last year a different guy stepped up every night, this year it seems as if a different guy implodes every night. Now comes news Brad Lidge has been nursing a sore knee, the same one on which he has had surgery twice. All of us would like a nickel for every time the Phillies front office has been less than forthcoming about injuries. A week ago we were informed Lidge had watched film of his delivery and discovered a flaw that probably explained his erratic, un-Lidge-like performances this season. Saturday night's adventure in Miami pretty much undermined that notion.

If Lidge has to be shut down for any length of time the Phillies pitching woes will only worsen. Playing from behind like they do isn't going to make up the difference in the long run.

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