So the Phillies are in the dumps, no doubt about that. What better way to turn this home-stand around than throwing your stopper out there to shut down the Marlins. Horray for us! Cory Lidle is healthy and finally ready to pitch tonight after missing two starts. Meanwhile Houston is starting Roger Clemens against the Brewers. Sheesh! Well, at least there was a day off yesterday. It’s kinda like when a basketball team is on a run and the opposition calls timeout. Of course the Phillies are the ones getting their tails kicked in. But it could be worse. Last year they were hovering around 5 games out of the Wild Card race. I was reading some archived posts and there was no dagger like this last year. The decline began in July and really didn’t leave much hope for the rest of the season.
Thus this year’s agony is a bit more intense coming late in the season, plus us fans have had the extra day to mull it over. The Phils are certainly still in the race, they’re just not playing like they are, which lead to Charlie Manuel’s profound comments:
“I can’t figure whether we try too hard or we get too tight in situations. I can’t determine which one.”
First of all, there’s no such thing as trying too hard. That about there sums up the difference between the Manuel and Bowa philosophies. So, it must be that the Phils “get tight in situations” or in other words CHOKE!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Uncle Charlie, that is it, the Phillies are choke artists. Did you know that coming into this job? Did Ed Wade somehow forget to list “Heimlich-training” as one of the qualifications in the job listing.
In other managerial news, Gary Varsho’s name has surfaced as a potential replacement for Pittsburgh’s Lloyd McClendon. I’d have to say I wouldn’t miss him. In fact, I believe Varsho’s departure would be the perfect opportunity for the Phils’ to hire Lenny Dykstra as a coach. He gets so mad when he watches the Phillies at bat, but unlike the rest of us, has the experience to help. I think he would be a big help if we can lure him out of the California car washing business.
Last night I hung out with a bunch of Mets fans who assured me that we are not alone. Brandon Looper, their closer, blew Wednesday’s Mets game in a similar fashion to Billy Wagner. So, thankfully the Phillies have not dropped below Met level; but what’s more interesting is that both the NY Times and NY Post report Met interest in the Phillies back-end of the bullpen. Sure, Uggie and Wagner are much better closers than Looper, but not lately when it counts. We’ll know more this series, especially if the Phils can get back in the rhythm of having six innings of halfway decent starting pitching followed by the Madson-Urbina-Wagner combo. Lately games have strayed from this plan and have proved not as comfortably simple as Charlie Manuel would like.