Monday, June 28, 2004

Bank Errors

The Phillies limp home from their lackluster trip to Montreal and Boston facing something of a crossroads. During the crucial 14-game homestand that begins tonight against the Expos, they will hit the midway point of the season, and if you can feel all of the preseason promise unraveling amidst waves of maddening inconsistency, you're not alone. A Citizen's Blog, in a post with the understated headline "Not The Best Week Ever...," agrees with the Inquirer's Jim Salisbury, who has spent two days hammering the Fightin's for their underachieving ways. Yesterday he pleaded for the high-priced payroll to suck it up and play better on a more regular basis, rather than regressing to the seasonlong "up one stair, down two" approach that has the Phils needing to jump over several teams just to land the wild card slot. Today Salisbury rightly challenges the clubhouse chest-thumpers who still see the Phils as the division's best team by asking: "When will the Phillies start playing like the team to beat?"

The Phillies, as currently constructed, are decidedly not the team to beat. Despite what was on paper a talent upgrade over last season, the Phils drift along in a mediocre National League East, unwilling or unable to grab hold of a division that should be theirs for the taking. They play with no passion, no hunger, no desperation; watching them mail it in during their worst losses leaves you thinking that maybe they don't realize they still need to go out and, you know, play, that the guys in the other dugout aren't simply going to throw up their hands and forfeit games.

The homestand, you'd think, offers the chance for the Phillies finally to build some momentum. Um, maybe not. Citizens Bank Park has hardly been the oasis that Bill Giles and David Montgomery envisioned all those years ago. The Phillies are barely over .500 in South Philly, which could spell trouble for Larry Bowa, since it's hard to envision that Ed Wade wouldn't do something -- anything -- in the increasingly likely event that the team fails to blast into the All-Star Break on any kind of hot streak. As they say, you can't fire the players -- well, not all of them, anyway, and I don't think anyone pretends that another retread reliever is going to turn these Phils into pennant winners.


At June 28, 2004 at 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should be way back in the standings after all of these ugly losses, but the baseball gods must be watching over them, since just about every time the Phillies lose, so do the Marlins. Even they have to realize that one of these fine days, the Expos could be looking back at the last place Phillies. DSJC

At June 28, 2004 at 4:51 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for Wade to do anything, whther it be a trade or canning Bowa's tired act. After all, Wade was dragged kicking and screaming into teh Wagner deal -- over Brandon Duckworth!

At June 29, 2004 at 12:54 PM, Blogger Chris said...

In the future, could everyone please refer to the Expos as the Senators? Thank you.


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