Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Odds and Trends

It wasn't all that long ago that we were basking in the glow of preseason predictions, nearly all of which saw the Phillies as the rampantly obvious team to beat in the N.L. East. It was hardly a dangerous pick -- the Phils had patched obvious holes in the off-season and were moving into a cool new ballpark. The stage seemed to be set.

What a difference 87 games can make.

Inconsistent pitching, injuries, an offense that can't seem to sustain itself over the long haul, and a petulant, clueless manager who's more caricature than field general have kept the Phillies from opening up any distance in the division. If the season ended today, the Phils would be the worst of the six teams to make the playoffs -- and that's the good news. As Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci observes, four times over the last 10 years the Phillies have, including this year, held a playoff spot by a game; the previous three times, they've failed to make the postseason. In a division the Fightin's should absolutely own, not one team, according to Verducci, can be given a playoff edge.

Even among the hometown bloggers, typically a bastion of optimism, there is discontent. A Citizen's Blog recently surveyed the team and concluded that

the Phils are in trouble. This team is better off in the standings now then in ’03 (when they trailed the Braves by ten or so games), but they have a worse record this year (46-41) than last (52-40). They are playing too inconsistently, and they have real competition: the Mets and Braves are playing well, and the Fish will rebound from their June slump.

Indeed, I don't know whether to be relieved or concerned that the Phils' biggest objective backers these days seem to be the bent noses and leg-breakers.


At July 14, 2004 at 1:32 PM, Blogger gr said...

i think those odds have been tampered with to take us for the "proverbial ride."


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