Thursday, July 29, 2004

Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse

That gurgling sound you hear is the Phillies' season slowly and perhaps inexorably sinking down the drain.

Even by the considerable standards of this disappointing season, the Phils today really brought the stinky. A seven-run Marlin third, capped by light-hitting Alex Gonzalez's grand slam, put the morose Phillies into an 8-0 hole, and you could see them deflating before your eyes. They're spineless enough even when they're winning, but hit them with an early, eight-run deficit and they fold like Mo Gaffney on Celebrity Poker Showdown.

The final was Marlins 10, Phillies 1, marking a stunning four-game sweep by Florida. This was a disaster, from the first pitch to the last. Terribly misplayed balls -- a grounder to third that ate up Tomas Perez, a pop-up that Jimmy Rollins should have snared easily but instead lost in the sun in shallow center -- will be what you see on SportsCenter tonight, but just as damaging were Paul Abbott's completely useless start and the paucity of offense (five hits, zero spark).

That makes 14 consecutive losses at Pro Player Stadium, ensuring that if the Phillies do make it back to South Florida in a position to play meaningful games in September, the mental burden the Fish have managed to hang on them will still exist. More significantly, after everyone, the team included, targeted the critical stretch of 12 games in 15 that the Phils would play against division foes immediately following the All-Star break, they got thrashed, going only 4-8.

The Phillies are in bad, bad, bad shape.

I could feel myself getting progressively more upset, in a way I haven't yet this season, as the game unfolded silently on the TV screen in my office. It wasn't yelling and screaming, but sadness, the sense that all of that optimism in March was utterly unfounded. This series, at its beginning, had the whiff of a turning point, a chance for the Phillies to gather themselves and launch their pennant drive. Now that it's over, it still smells like a turning point -- but it sure looks like a wrong turn the Phils have taken.


At July 29, 2004 at 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tomas Perez was at third today, you were dead on about everything else.

Brian at the Philling Station

At July 29, 2004 at 8:46 PM, Blogger Chris said...

" the game unfolded silently on the TV screen in my office." Yeah, life is tough.

At July 29, 2004 at 9:25 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Brian: My mistake, since corrected; thanks much for the heads-up. Chris: Ummm ... . Shut up.

At July 29, 2004 at 11:05 PM, Blogger gr said...

i know what you'll be saying at the end of the season, sitting around a bar liek a bunch of losers...yeah, my team used to be in a pennant's a tough racket.


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