• August 19, 2022

The Phillies’ Wheels Are Beginning To Fall Off

Through the first two months of the season, it wasn’t pretty, but the Phillies were able to keep their heads above water, and stay within five games of the top spot in the N.L. East. They had been overcoming injuries and inconsistent play to stay relevant in a tough division. Just a week ago, the Phillies were a mere 2.5 games out of first place, three games above .500, and it seemed as though they might finally be turning the corner.

But now, things are quickly going south for the Phils.

Now the team has lost six straight games. They can’t win a series against a quality opponent. They lost two of three games to one of their division rivals, the Miami Marlins, and were swept in a four-game series at home against one of the top teams in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They can’t take advantage of quality starting pitching. Cliff Lee pitched yet another gem on Tuesday night, but ended up with his third loss of the year instead of his first win. What does the lefthander have to do to get a victory this year? He’s allowed three runs or less in seven of his nine starts, thrown 10 innings in a single game, and had two games with 10 or more strikeouts, yet he doesn’t have a single win to show for it.

They can’t hit with runners in scoring position. This has been a recurring theme all season. The Phillies have had few players step up in clutch situations most of the year. Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, and John Mayberry were the three guys the Phillies were counting on to step up and be the focal points of the offense in the absence of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and all three have failed miserably.

They don’t seem to know how to win games anymore. Thurday’s loss to the Dodgers was the latest in another recurring theme of the 2012 season: the Phillies get ahead early, but let games slip away late. Countless times this season, the Phillies have gotten themselves a small lead, only to see it vanish as the game goes on. Either the offense has been unable to keep the pressure up and tack on more runs, or the pitching staff can’t hold the lead for nine innings. Right now, the Phillies are finding more ways to lose than to win.

“We don’t scare nobody,” Manuel said after Thursday’s loss. “We used to have a swagger. We used to be kind of cocky in a real good way. Teams used to definitely fear us. I definitely don’t see that fear no more. I’m sorry. I’m answering the question very honestly. I don’t see where we scare nobody. Nobody backs down from us. Matter of fact, they come right at us. They take it right to us.”

Manuel’s words display just how much of a step back this team has taken in 2012. In years past, the Phillies used to have a lineup that could overcome any lead held by the opponent. Last season, they had an imposing pitching staff that made up for a flawed lineup, and the team played with enough swagger that they won a franchise-record 102 games.

But this year? Its a team that has regressed into mediocrity. Its a team that has a disabled list worth over $60 million, and a patchwork lineup complete with underachievers. Its a team that is beginning to see their flaws catch up with them, and put them in serious danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in five years.

 

Denny Basens

Read Previous

The Ascent Of Stan Van Gundy

Read Next

Notes From Phillies’ 9-6 Win Over Baltimore

42 Comments

  • blame falls squarely on Amaro, did not plan properly, neglected hitting, you cannot win baseball games unless you score runs, the 08 team was a slugging team, slugging mentality, fit this ball park, why build a dynasty of arms in a hitters’ park, makes no sense, Myers was the ace of the 08 team, didn’t matter, we had big bats even off the bench Stairs, et. al, now we have huge payroll, great pitching, when healthy, but no runs, no swagger, bring Gillick back and send Amaro to triple a

  • It is a crazy season for sure….I guess that before the season no one would have been suprised that bthe upcoming series with the Orioles would pit a first place team against a last place team….just didn’t think that it would be the Phillies in last place

  • Phils have gone 8-12 in “Paulman’s 23 Critical Stretch of Games against Quality Teams” since the Red Sox Series. The Phils are not a Playoff Team,
    they scare,initimiday no one with this line-up and to be honest, this Season has gone pretty close to what I expected this Team to do with it’s current line-up.
    It’s lack of Power to make up runs late is non-existent, their Bullpen has be shaky all season will most likely get worse before it gets better and I’ve stated all off-season to now that even with Good Starting Pitching, that most games are usually won and lost from the 7th Inning on where the Phils have been poor due to their Bullpen unable to shut opponents down and their lack of big hits and clutch hits and their inability to come from behind since there are no 3-Run homers coming from this Line-up like there the last few Seasons..
    My bigger concern moving forward is what kind of Team are we going to be looking at over the next 2-3 Seasons… Doc & Lee are aging and have pitched lots of innings over the years and have probably peaked as dominant Pitchers… Hamels contract status, Can the Phils afford or be willing to have 3 PItchers making over $20 Million per Season. The health of Utley (who I believe, cannot be counted on any longer) CF S Victorino coming into a Free-Agency, Polanco is in his final year and likely in his final season as a Phillie.. What’s happened to Mayberry, Stutes & Bastardo who showed so much promise and production in 2011 only to be inconsisten and lacking in self-confidence… Lots of players,and health issues to decide on moving forward.. Re-Signing SS Jim Rollins and fan favorite Jim Thome looked to be mistakes and moved based on sentimental feelings for both players as opposed to upgrading the Roster… GM Amaro, in my opinion, missed a great opportunity this Off-Seaon when approx $45-$50 Million worth of Salaries came off the books after the 2011 Season with players such as Oswalt,Lidge,Ibanez.Madson,Francisco, Gload and besides obtaining Top Closer Papelbon,(Who had produced and lived up to his contract) the Phils
    have basically filled out their rosters with older, journeymen and back-up players who have played well in spurts but just don’t have the power and big hits that the departed/injured players had… Pierre,Wigginton,Nix are nice stories but are not going to scare any Pitching Staff of opposing teams..
    This 2nd Half Season will be interesting to watch, do the Phils go out and get a player to 2 and hope for a 2nd Half Run to still be able to make the Playoffs even as a Wild-Card if Howard/Utley can return and actually contribute , Do the Phils even have enough young prospects to trade from their depleted Minor Leauges to pick-up a rent a player veteran for a Stretch drive or do they make the difficult choices, sacrifice the remainder of 2012 to get a good look at some young players to see if they are part of the Phils Future… Why not call-up and play D Brown everyday in LF, or keep Hector Luna at 1B until Howard returns.. Phis need to start planning for the future and I really thought that much of this would have been addressed this past Off-Season instead of the band-aids which clearly hasn’t worked too well..

  • Damn, Jake, you FINALLY agree with Paul & myself. Welcome to the club. We’ve only been saying it, for 2 years & you ripped us. Amaro & Manuel needs to go, & this roster needs a complete overhaul.

  • BTW, the wheels are falling off, because they have been filled with fix-a-flat & had loose lug nuts, for the last 3 years.

  • Remember the Date of Saturday June 2nd,2012
    Phils winning 3-1 over Marlins with Acr Cole Hamels on the Mound after the Phils won 4 Games in a Row and appeared to be getting some confiidence back.. Phils/Hamels lost the lead and the Game, then lost Sunday to the Marlins to drop the Series and lost all momentum they had from the Cardinal Series… Even more disheartening has been the play by the Phils at home.. You can see the pressure on the entire time from the Coaching Staff down to all the Players, at least on the Road, the Phils seem to be a little looser .. This Team is having no fun at all, and probably needs to losen up a bit which is difficult to do when your losing..

  • won’t go that far dcar, a team that won 102 games and one game away from advancing was not a fixer upper, its that just recently, reflecting how this team is built, makes no sense, you don’t need all those hoses in this park, you need mashers, on or two big hoses, with back end bull pen, that would have been enough, plus the 08 team was fun to watch

  • I still think you and many Phillie fans are discounting the progress and improvements of the Teams in the NL East Jake, who are now built with very good young talent and are much stronger that they were the last few seasons.. Basically the Phils beat up on the Nats,Mets,Marlins every season for the last few years nd would only really have to worry about the Braves, now all 4 teams are much better,more talented and have agressive managers who are not one bit intimidated by the Phils ,like some of their previous Teams would be..
    I would be very surprised to see the Phils even finish above .500 against their NL East Rival Teams this Season.. If you don’t win within your own Division, it’s difficult to get very far or even make the Playoffs and that’s the realtiy of 2012 Season and the next 3-4 Seasons unless the Phils make some major moves,.. Making a minor tweak here or there is not going to get it done this year or the foreseeable future in my opinion…

  • Boy… funny how these idiots continue to fault Amaro and Manuel. How quickly they forget. Lets see Howard (who many have ripped for years on this site) is missing and oh yeah his 40 hr’s and 130 RBI’s– you just don’t replace that. Utley as a power hitting 3 hole hitter. Lee has ZERO wins and has been on the DL. Halladay is on the DL. Your fill in rookie of the year candidate is on the DL. I believe the phils have had 13 guys go on the DL this year. NO TEAM WITH NO GENERAL MANAGER CAN WIN UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS!
    yet they are still only 6 games back or so…
    NIX, Winnington, pierre et al were picked up to provide some pop and depth off the bench and if the hurt players come back thats exactly what they will do. All a GM and manager can do is put you in a position– injuries and lack of performance are out of your control.

  • oops WiGGington…. i can’t spell!

  • Amaro built a pitching dynasty in a hitters park, therein lies the problem

  • I have no beef with Charlie, he would tell you the same thing , in fact said so yesterday, get me some damn mashers, the lee signing was like the nmandi signing by the birds money spent foolishly could have gone after abig bat, Charlie is screaming for help , where is Gillick when we need him

  • brilliant thinking… hmmmmm too much pitching…. now i’ve heard everything
    again the line up he built is utley, howard and pence— even if utley is in decline and hits 20… thats 20, 40 and 30 thru the middle of the lineup….
    too much pitching, i was under the impression that there is NO SUCH THING! — unbelievable.
    I wonder what the people who have made a living as ‘baseball men’ would say about the too much pitching comment. that just goes to show that a blog allows anyone to speak.

  • Have a cigar , is it just cigars you are smoking or what , did you watch the 08 Phillies , by the way the polo grounds doesn’t exist anymore

  • i sure did i watched ever single inning. jake pick 10 good baseball men and ask their opinion on your comment.

  • We cant complain now that its imploding. Most fans were pretty excited with the aquistions of Halladay, Oswalt, Lee (2x), and Pence. Rememeber the “H2O”, “four horsemen” monikers about two years ago, nobody was complaining then. The Phillies believed (or hoped) that this season they could weather the injuries to Howard and Utley with some stronger bench players and solid pitching and it hasn’t worked at all. There is still some solid foundation here moving forward (Pence, Galvis, Ruiz, Hamels, Paplebon and to varying degrees Howard and Utley). P-man posted yesterday and it was well put, Amaro needs to make moves this season in the opposite direction of the last several. Trade the high price player for other teams prospects. Victorino, either Lee or Halladay, Blanton, Rollins (if possible) and re-group for next 3-5 seasons. This team cant win it this year with this many holes, Howard and/or Utley or otherwise. But let’s wait to see if Amaro can aquire some young talent going forward by the trade deadline before hes crucified.

  • that’s a balanced view there everz11, but with all this money spent, commited into the future, there’s no reloading any more, it’s win now, every year, that’s the pressue amaro is under, and I agree he should deal some arms, Lee and some of their good prospects, they are still deep with pitching in the minors to get young not yet so expensive boppers, or a proven bopper

    Haveacigar, I know how charlie would answer your question

  • Time to have a fire sale and plan for 2013 – waiting on Howard and utley is pathetic and a poor excuse by amaro

    Try to free up some money to sign YOUNG talent

  • Bring dom brown up, that’s a start

  • HAC, us idiots, are complaining because your hero Amaro did a $#!T job, putting this team together. He managed to make an old, expensive team, the OLDEST, 2nd highest paid team, in MLB, with no backup plan, to Howards injury, his ignorance to Polanco’s & Utleys conditions & his stupidity in bringing back a shell of his former self, Rollins, knowing he is a 10-5 player. He has ZERO GOOD young position players, anywhere, ZERO payroll flexibility & NO backup plan. WE HAVE A LINEUP OF SHOT PLAYERS, AARP MEMBERS, CAREER BACKUPS, JOURNEYMEN & BORDERLINE MAJOR LEAGUERS! SO IT’S ALLLLL HIS FAULT!!! EVER YEAR WE HAVE REGRESSED, UNDER HIS WATCH, ALL THE WHILE AGING, WITH DECLING SKILLS & A SKYROCKETING PAYROLL!!!! SO, YOU’RE THE ONLY IDIOT ON HERE! GO TROLL, SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! YOU’RE EITHER BLIND, DELUSIONAL, OR STUPID!!!!

  • jake…. charlie won 102 games last year with a great pitching staff in a boppers park… i know exactly how he would respond to your ‘too much pitching’ comment.
    102 games!
    they may not win the east this year…. its a thing that happens in sports. your big guns get injured and it is one of those things. but i can tell you IF howard has a second half like he usually does and Roy comes back strong it is going to be an exciting sept.
    if not they will re-tool, they will clear some salary and sign another hitter.
    again, utley, howard and pence is a pretty damn good 3,4,5
    and when you criticize amaro i ask you …. were you critical when he got halladay, lee (twice), pence, polanco, paplebon, lidge ?
    were you critical when they let rowan walk to give CF to victorino?

  • Dcar… read my last post.
    you are a fan that is always critical. i’m sure that when they were winning 102 you were pissed they didn’t win 103–
    you have never played the game, never coached it and never lost a game in your life. you sit on the sidelines and whine—
    it takes role players to contribute to win– do you remember bruntlett? a total scrub who contributed in a big way to win the championship–as for getting old, duh they’ve won 5 straight nl east titles– as for replacing with younger plyers– i think galvis is gonna be a player, pence is good, mayberry they are giving him a shot and it may not work out but that is sports
    armchair qb’s are always undefeated– always

  • For your information genius, I played up til college, & was scouted by several teams, until I tore up all 3 ligaments in my right knee. I also worked for the Phillies from 1987-2003. So I’m no armchair QB. If you can’t understand, the points I’m making, understand, what it takes to maintain continual success, I don’t know what to tell you. Also 102 wins, don’t mean a F^#@ING THING!!! They got bounced in the first round. SO THAT’S A MEANINGLESS POINT! Amaro has ruined this team for the next several years. If they don’t resign Hamels, it’s even worse. BTW, Wade built the ingredients for the 2008 cake, & Gillick put the icing on it. Amaro has worsened the outcome EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!!!

  • Well if you were an athlete you would understand that sometimes in a short series a hot team can beat a better team. You understand the best team doesn’t always win…history bares that out.
    So which moves don’t you like? Haladay?lee?pence?letting worth leave for $130 mill?
    Second guessing is easy you are ala
    Always undefeated

  • Not Adressing 3B,LF and Bullpen and re-signing SS J Rollins for Starters
    Not locking up Hamels with a long-term deal in the Off-Season will be Amaro’s Downfall.. He probably cost the Phils a cool $20 Million over what Deal he will get after this Season.. Soon as teh Off-season was over and the decision not to bring Oswalt back, Amaro should have been on the Phils with Hamels and his Agent and offer a $16-$18 Million Deal over 5 Years which Hamels most likely 7-would have jumped on.. Now Fast forward the Season and relative to other Pitchers getting Good Deals (Matt Cain 6 Year 120 MIllion , Weaver and others) and just the fact that Hamels is now probably the Ace of this Phillie Staff that his Salary is probably at or over $22 Million per Season…

  • Paulman, he did address the bullpen , pap and qualls, qualls does have stuff, poor location getting him in trouble, I agree though he failed to address 3rd, left, and probably could have locked up ham els, he is running the utley Howard situations poorly from a pr perspective, amaro has done a poor job as gm, the lee deal fell on his lap and to me is a questionable signing, he has time to right this ship we will see

  • Amaro went out and got a legitimate Closer in Papelbon, but counting on Jose Contreras and Dave Herndon were not the best options in adressing Bullpen Depth and I really believe that Manuel wore out both Stutes/Bastardo from overuse in 2011, setting them back in their development.. Qualls has had a decent careers and is a better Pitcher than he has shown recently.. . This is probably the 3rd Season that Phils ony have 1 LHP in their Bullpen and for some reason seem to miss the boat on this..
    Wheres that situations LHP to come in to get that 1 Left Batter out.. (kind of like Scott Eylre was usesd) Bastardo does well when his command in on but is still yound and inconsistent ..
    I always thought Blanton would make a better Reliever than Starter where if he were to come in for 1 inning and let it rip, that he would contribute more to the Team than as a 5th Starter.. Blanton has 2 Pitches but his problem has alway been as a Starter than when he gets thru th eopposing Teams Line-up the 2nd and 3rd Times, he starts getting tagged.. His pitches are flat, come in on same level and just doesn’t have much movement and you give MLB Batters a 2nd/3rd lapearance at the plate against him and they start hitting him hard..

  • I thought poly was/is their third baseman? Hmmm I guess people want everything…LF they are giving Mayberry a Shot..can’t have 15 million dollar players at every position.
    Interesting how bloggers think they have intimate knowledge of the negotiations between players and management
    Lee a questionable signing…wow ythat coupled with the too much pitching comment say it all…

  • My off-season move would have been to get a 3B with some Power (Aramis Ramirez, Mike Cuddyear or MArk Reynolds) and then shift Polanco to 2B until the Utley situation worked it’s way out.. There was no doubt in my mind that Utley wouldn’t be ready until June and he will attempt the same thing for the remainder of his Career.. He will be a 80-90 game a Season Player who will wait to June to start playing.. If I was GM I would haev demanded by January a physcial workout and independent specialists to checkn on Utley to see if he was going to be ready.. Utley is not going to have SUrgery as he has stated numerous time.. His knees cannot play a 150-160 games 6-7 Monh Season.. He can probably play about 75-80 games max on his knees

  • getting ramirez or any of the 3 would have been great…. however we here on the blogosphere have unlimited pocketbooks, no salary cap. would have made Poly a vry expensive utility man, and that would have been a great luxury but again the realities of salary cap made that impossible.
    i’m afraid you are correct about Utleys’ knees. he is DONE– very difficult to blame Amaro for a guys body deteriorating to that level….
    as for what you would have DEMANDED, I wonder what the CBA says about that– being GM w/no salary cap or rules is a simple job!

  • Utley will probably announce his retirement, you just do not recover from degenerative knees

  • Shame on GM Amaro and the Phils for simply takong Utleys word, via Phone Calls, last off-season as he did the same thing on 2011 as he is doing in 2012….
    Utleys makes $15 MIllion per Season , do you see him forfeiting future seasons Salaries by retiring.. I don’t. .Utley will attempt to do this same thing until his contract is up and sadly, the Phils will probably allow him to do it…

  • I don’t think there is anything the phils can do about it! that is the risk you take in signing contracts, its a fact of life in the big leagues. guaranteed contracts. They gave Utley market value and debilitating injuries now make him worthless…
    as for taking his word… there are rules that players and management have to live by. so as for ‘allowing him to do it’…. a stupid comment, utterly stupid

  • Since the EAgles were caught surprised by Utley’s knee situation in the Spring of 2011 where he was unable to work out during SPring Camp and the Early part of the 2011, don’t you think it would have been wise to protect your investment, your roster planning and keep a closer eye of his health of his knee over the off-season.. Making a weekly phone call to a $15 Million a year player to see how he’s doing does not cut it with me and especialyl already knowing what happened in 2011… Fly him in, have an independent specialitsts check him out, put him thru drills… and you watch, Utley will pull the same crap next off-season ..

  • The have to follow the collective bargaining agreement

  • Article VIII section G..states ‘a player does not have to report treatment of injury during off season unless ther is an invasive procedure’
    Again you all want to be GM and not follow rules

  • Utley will retire, probably this season and I don’t think he will play much this year if at all, it is peculiar how he seems ton have held the phillies hostage over his knees, that’s how it seems with the lack of transparency by the phillies of what they really know, regardless, California cool utley, ur outtttaaa heeeeerrrrreee

  • Well don’t you think he screwed the fans and the phillies if he didn’t inform amaro about the condition of his knees, and what’s on tap today have a cigar cuando fuma un Allones Extra

  • Thanx for the info HAC..
    I still as GM would have been in closer touch with him somehow..
    Phils can’t wait until MArch of every year to fins out if he can play or not..
    They got burned in 2011 by relying on Utley’s word and shame on them for not having a Plan B for this Season which is why I stated many times this off-season to them to go out and get a power hitting 3B and slide Polanco to 2B and in the worse case, if Utley bounced back and was ready to play in 2012, Utley could have enve played some 1B until Howard’s return since we all knew for sure that Howard was probably a post All-Star Return in July at the Earliest… You need some Power #’s from your 1B/3B and at least 1 OF position (preferebly 2) and the Phils have no one consistently outside of RF Pence who can generate some Power #’s..

  • If a player retires in MLB, doesn’t he forfeit his Contract.. WHy would Utley retire and miss 2 more Seasons at $15 Million if the Team can’t check on him during the Off-season or if he chooses a non-invasive procedure which he has stated many times that he will not do… He can keep doing the same thing and stay it’s feelin gbetter, it’s getting close,etc,etc and still collect a paycheck couldn’t he… Unless he and the Phils came to some type of medical settlement/buyout of his current contract…
    Anyone kow the rules about when a Player Officially Retires who still has time and years left on his Contract..

  • if he retires because he doesn’t want to play, then he forfeits his renaming contract, but if he retires because he physically can’t play, not certain, but he probably has insurance on the contract and right now he is probably doing the things necessary to fulfill any conditions precedent required by the insurance, regardless, utley mailed it in already, he’s outta here

  • Moving Polly would have been great but they couldn’t afford rameriz also he is 34 …I thought the consensus was that they needed some youth. Chase has them over a barrel . It’s a risk you take…they signed him to the deal when he was an MVP candidate at like 28 it was a good signing when you play with the big boys and in real life those are the things you have to do

Comments are closed.