If the Phillies were built to win now the $64K question of the day for their GM is "What's next, Rube?"
A hint as to Rube's state of mind came yesterday at a news conference when he cut off a questioner who appeared to be on the verge of asking the CL question. But inquiring minds still need to know this: if the rumors of a trade for Roy Oswalt are true and if he built the Phils to win now, how does he trade Jayson Werth before the end of the season to acquire Oswalt? Seems like quite the quandary, no?
You see, Rube has painted himself into a corner and there is no getting out without a mess.
As for the games themselves, the Phils dropped another one last night on merit but with a huge assist from manager Charlie Manuel who accomplished a trifecta in the seventh inning when he let pitcher Joe Blanton bat with the bases loaded and two outs. Blanton went down swinging on three straight pitches and the Phils failed to score.
The three parts?
1. Blanton batted instead of using a pinch hitter, ANY pinch hitter. (One right-handed one was available.)
2. Manuel has completely lost faith in his entire bullpen.
3. Blanton, who has run out of gas nearly every game he's pitched this year, was true to form as he gave up a home run to the first batter in the bottom of the inning on the way to surrendering four runs on the night, more than enough to seal the deal.
How does all of this add up? Every single phase of the organization from the alleged brain trust, to the field general to the players is collapsing simultaneously.