A few weeks ago, when a record-setting victory total seemed in sight, more than a few observers noted the Phils only had to play .500 ball to assure themselves an outstanding season.
Apparently, the Phils listened.
Over the last ten games the Phils have dropped at least two games they had in the bag while losing a few more they might have won with some timely hitting. Meanwhile, Atlanta kept on winning to "close" the gap between the two teams to six games.
Last night, both teams lost. The Phils' lost when Roy Oswalt was rocked for six runs including a grand slam homer. Oswalt, who looked reasonably sharp last start vs. Washington, pitched poorly last night. He didn't have the velocity of his last game and his command was off. Frankly, with last night's performance he dropped to fifth on my depth chart and sixth if you believe Kyle Kendrick offers more at this stage.
The chinks in the Phils armor explain their mediocre play of late. Cole Hamels has shoulder inflammation. Jimmy Rollins is on the DL. Placido Polanco is back but could be gone with one swing or bend. Michael Stutes pitches more like a rookie every day. Brad Lidge is a slider in the dirt or a "fastball" with little on it always waiting to happen. Ryan Howard has been in a funk and has a sort hand (last night he homered, however.) Michael Martinez has looked more like a Rule 5 player.
The most surprising development of all is that Roy Halladay hasn't been winning lately. There are all sorts of explanations for his recent dry spell, but they don't offer much consolation.
The rain has certainly wrecked havoc on the Phils' staff and, one would guess, on the position players who've had to play until nearly midnight a few times lately. With a hurricane on the horizon, the juggling of rotations doesn't get any easier. The Phils will try and sneak one in this afternoon and then skedaddle off to Cincinnati before the airport shuts down.