Friday, July 30, 2004

Poison Ivy

The Phillies need a standing eight-count.

After the Marlins staggered them with a four-game sweep, the Phils wobbled into Chicago, where the Cubs rocked them this afternoon with a come-from-behind, 10-7 win that was as demoralizing as any this season.

In the early to middle innings, this one looked like a game the Phillies could have used to swing a turnaround to what had been a wretched road trip. They were hitting Mark Prior hard, Eric Milton was locating his curve well, and there were some rare signs of life. Bobby Abreu's three-run homer to dead center, off an up and away Prior fastball that he simply destroyed, gave the Phils a 6-3 lead only a half-inning after a potentially crushing two-run dong by Derrek Lee had tied the score. Placido Polanco, playing perhaps his final game as a Phillie, made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder catch on a pop fly well down the rightfield line to end the fifth, then accepted jubilant high fives as he made his way through the Phils' bullpen while returning to the dugout.

But on a day when the Cubs' vaunted pitching was a liability, the Phillies' hurlers were even worse. Milton unraveled in the sixth, and Rheal Cormier and Roberto Hernandez were equally ineffective, and when it was over, a winnable game had turned into a 10-7 loss.

The trade deadline is less than 24 hours away, and while the Marlins swung a major deal today, the Phillies swapped Ricky Ledee and a minor leaguer for Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez, the kind of trade Ed Wade lives for -- a major bench contributor for a retread bullpen guy. On my way home tonight, I listened to WIP callers come out of the woodwork to point their fingers at Wade, and while Howard Eskin wondered why the writers have given the Phils' GM a pass, I screamed at my car radio that Eskin needs to go online, where feelings are a little different. Alas, those callers seemed to see this as a zero-sum game -- if Wade stinks, then Bo must be okay. Whereas the truth is that Wade's biggest failing is allowing Bowa to last as long as he has.

Two-thirds of the way into a season that saw them as the consensus pick to win the division, the Phillies are a game over .500. They have a manager unfit for Little League, a GM who's running his club as if it were a fantasy team, an ownership group more concerned with beer-stand concessions than wins and losses, and a roster stocked with slackers and crybabies. It's a wonder the Phillies are only 4 1/2 out.

UPDATE: Looks as if the Mets rolled the dice today, too.

34 Comments:

At July 31, 2004 at 12:39 AM, Blogger gr said...

felix rodriguez? jesus, i didn't think it was possible, but it looks like we acquired mike williams all over again.

what's next? steve jeltz for jose oquendo?

 
At July 31, 2004 at 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There must be some kind of mistake-Feckless Eddie picked up a 31-year old reliever (Rodriguez)? Usually Eddie doesn't want bullpen guys who lack AARP cards. Then again, Todd Jones, who writes (wrote? I haven't seen the mag in a while) a dim-witted column for Sporting News is 36. Rodriguez is worth getting, but what about a lead-off hitter, srarting pitcher(s), etc.?

 
At July 31, 2004 at 7:16 AM, Blogger Tom G. said...

I wouldn't compare F-Rod to Mike Williams...Rodriguez has had some pretty darn good seasons in the set-up role. But I do agree that I would like something a little bit more significant.

 
At July 31, 2004 at 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I saw Todd Jones had a column on yahoo (sporting news) I assumed he had retired. Well, at least he was able to get out Sosa today. I thought Sosa was going to be the hero this time.

Brian at the Philling Station

 
At July 31, 2004 at 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I saw Todd Jones had a column on yahoo (sporting news) I assumed he had retired. Well, at least he was able to get out Sosa today. I thought Sosa was going to be the hero this time.

Brian at the Philling Station

 
At July 31, 2004 at 7:36 PM, Blogger gr said...

the year before the got him. mike williams had 46 saves and an ERA under 3.

 
At July 31, 2004 at 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that Phillies should've fired Bowa last September, but now that the end is near I feel bad for the guy. This is a mediocre team in a mediocre divison that could still go somewhere if the powers that be were willing to make some moves. They aren't, as we've seen.

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