• March 24, 2023

What The Phils Need To Do As They Make Their 2nd Half Run

Somewhere underneath the thick July humidity you can feel that frosty bite of October air.

After the San Francisco Giants stole the team’s chances at a third straight appearance in the World Series with a young and talented pitching staff and some bald dude named Cody Ross (Where the hell did he come from?) it became clear what was needed to return to the World Series.

Four Aces. A formidable offense. A solid bullpen. While no one could have predicted the Cliff Lee signing, it represented the Phillies new team philosophy. They are not going to bash the ball to Mars all the way through the fall months but instead rely on outstanding pitching and hope timely hitting will be enough. These were the eggs in the basket; these are the ingredients that would get us back

Oh, how quickly we forget.

The cries for a right-handed bat have been heard loud and clear. Jeff Francoeur and Ryan Ludwick’s names have been floating around for weeks as the Phillies offense has ‘struggled’ through the first half.

I will acknowledge that this offense is not as good as it used to be. That is completely understandable. But when this team was leading the league in runs the only ace was Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton (I still shudder when I type that name) was pitching third in the rotation. Behind Halladay, Hamels, Lee and (hopefully) Oswalt the Phillies don’t need the most runs in the league. They just need enough to get those guys a lead.

The offense sits in the middle of nearly every National League offensive category. Some call it mediocrity. I call it sufficient.

Sure a right-handed bat would be a nice addition but will the players available be worth the price? Teams on the brink of contending will surely throw whatever is in their farm systems at the Padres or Mets for whatever hitter is available because, frankly, they need it more than we do. Not to mention the Phillies are right up against the luxury tax and adding another large salary would put them over the limit, something David Montgomery’s wallet would surely disagree with.

Not to mention these hitters are never a guarantee. If so many people like to hate on Ryan Howard, who always is at the top of the league in home runs and RBI’s despite his batting average, how do you think they will react to Jeff Francoeur striking out three times a game?

If the Phillies are going to do anything big before July 31st it should be to go get another arm for the bullpen. The youngsters, Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes and David Herndon, have all been outstanding this year. Their contributions have been absolutely instrumental in the Phillies leading the league in wins through the All-Star break. But I question how their arms will hold up heading into September and October. Bastardo has already nearly doubled his innings total from last year and the same goes for Stutes. While I am confident in Ryan Madson’s ability to return healthy, the rest of the bullpen remains bleak. Jose Contreras has an old arm that is injured often and no one is ever sure what will happen with Brad Lidge these days.

The answer? Go get Heath Bell. Maybe that slide into the pitchers mound—never thought I would say that—won me over, but if there is a position and a player that is worth the price at the deadline it is Bell. Let’s say Madson comes back and Lidge returns to some-what consistent form around mid August. Throwing Bell in the equation helps save the youngster’s arms and you have a bullpen nearly as intimidating as the starters who take the mound before them. Also if Madson and Lidge struggle, Bell can certainly come in and fill the closers role with ease.

It may cost the team salary and players but adding Bell carries less or a risk then an expensive bat. Besides, the Phillies may be able to add a bat late August or early September in a waiver wire deal a la Matt Stairs or Mike Sweeney at a much more reasonable price.

So step back from the cliff, Phillies fans. You sit at the top of the Major League standings and have the best staff in the league even though one of those aces is injured.

Breathe in that summer air while it last, fall is but a few months away.

Timothy Johnson

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July 17, 2011 8:44 am

Nice Article Tim and spot on…
If the Phils can solidify that back end of the Bullpen, that would be huge during the playoff stretch run even with their “Lite”, hitting lineup.. Would be the smart move to make for you can’t really count on Lidge or Contreras being effective
What would you offer the Padres for a Heath Bell who are only going to be looking for young players and prospects in return.. ..

July 17, 2011 8:47 am

And hope we don’t face too many lefties in key games. We NEED a Right handed bat or we will fall short – like all those great Atlanta teams (who only won 1 world Series)!

July 17, 2011 9:56 am

Good Point Dixie,
The Braves,Reds, & SF Giants have tough Lefties in their Bullpens who can neutralize the Phils middle of the Line-Up.. It would be nive to have that consistent Right-HAnded Bat threat somewhere in the mix.. maybe Mayberry Jr is that guy for we all know that Francisco is not …Looking at the Phils Top Competition for the NL Pennant

Braves have no Left-Handed Starters, but 4 very good Lefties in the Bullpen
Brewers have 2 Starters in Wolf & Narveson and only 1 unproven Lefty in Bullpen
Cardinals have 1 Starter in Garcia and 2 young lefties in their Bullpen
SF Giants have 2-3 Starters in Sanchez,Baumgarner and even Zito and 2 tough lefties in the Bullpen in Lopez and Affeldt

The Giants and Braves match up the best with the Phillies as far as having quality and depth of Left-Handed Pitching out of the Bullpen late in games.. Look for St Louis Cardinals to add a Lefty to their Bullpen

July 17, 2011 10:58 am

Ill say it and ill say it again… You cant close out a game if your not up on the scoreboard. Nuff said.

July 17, 2011 10:59 am

still need at r handed bat

July 17, 2011 1:47 pm

Tim, did you honestly say in the sam article that-
“They need to just get enough runs for the starters.”
“The offense is sufficient.”
“David Herndon, has been outstanding all year.”
First off, no s#!t that they need to get enough runs for the starters. But they do not, thus is the major problem. The offense is far from sufficient. It isn’t even mediocre or timely. The offense blows. Other than Baez, Herndon is the worst BP pitcher we have. What team are you watching, are you delusional!?! They need bats, plural, not only 1. I would love Bell, but If Madson stays healthy, Bell is insurance. Unless you make Madson setup again.
This article is EPIC FAIL!

July 17, 2011 4:25 pm

DDcar why dont you write articles for this site? lol

July 17, 2011 6:34 pm

**Trade Alert**

Phils Trade Pitchers V Worley, Stutes & De Fratus and RF D Brown and Top Prospect SIngleton to the NY Mets for 3B D Wright and RF C Beltran

Then Phils in a spearate Trade send 2B C Utley & OF J Mayberry Jr and 1B Prospect Rizzoti to the San Diego Padres for Closer H Bell and OF R Ludwick

Once all players are healthy, The Phils new line-up will look like this

1) J Rollins SS (Switch-Hitter)
2) P Polanco 2B
3) D Wright 3B
4) R Howard 1B
5) C Beltran RF (Switch-Hitter)
6) S Victorino CF (Switch-Hitter)
7) R Ibanez LF (use Ludwick vs left-handed Pitchers)
8) C Ruiz C
9) Pitcher’s spot

Starting 5 — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Kendrick or Blanton

Bullpen — Herndon, Contreras, Lidge,Perez, Bastardo, Madson, Bell

Keep Ludwick as 4th Outfielder and 1st option for a Right Hand Pinch Hitter and flat out release Ben Francisco, Keep R Gload as 1st Option for a Left Hand Pinch Hitter

July 17, 2011 7:14 pm

Vrichinni, no way! Then I have to deal with guys like me, criticising me, LMFBO!!!

July 17, 2011 7:34 pm

Paul, not to be mean but, have your meds run out again? Those have to be the most lopsided, insane, delusional, wacked out trades in the history of mankind! I hate this lineup more than mostly everyone, but let me get this straight. You want to trade the Phils top 7 young guys in the organization & Utley (Even though I believe he is done), for 2 injury proned NY Muts, & 2 free agents at years end. Yeeaah oookay. As Donald Trump & Vince McMahon says, “You’re fired.” Even Ed Wade wouldn’t make those trades.

July 17, 2011 7:44 pm

#1 – Trade Dominic Brown and a prospect to the Astros for RF Hunter Pence

#2 – Trade prospects for Heath Bell…. the young pen needs a break and some veteran leadership….you can’t count on Lidge.

July 17, 2011 7:45 pm

@paulman –
Utley is not going anywhere…those trades are stupid.

July 17, 2011 7:51 pm

What is it with these articles that recap the most obvious things about the Phillies??? The offense isnt as good as it used to be..I know..No one saw the Cliff Lee signing…I know…The giants beat the phillies in the playoffs…I know..then you had a confusing point..The old arms cant hold up because they are old, and the young arms cant hold up cuz they are young..so what type of arms hold up? I understand you are blogging, I dont expect an expert opinion, but I do expect a diff spin on things

July 17, 2011 9:58 pm

This article serious blows, all most as bad as paulmans trades

July 17, 2011 10:11 pm

Just having a difficult time adjusting to my new medications..