It feels weird writing a negative blog after the impressive 3 game sweep of the Braves. But don't let the Phillies recent hot streak cloud the fact they have been mismanaged over the last number of years. Amaro has taken the defending World Champs and turned them into a team that is struggling to compete in a bad division. If you didn't think the 1st 5 moves were bad, the next 5 will having you running to call David Montgomery and demand answers!
The opening match for the United States Mens National Team in the 2014 World Cup started at 6PM EST. By 6:01 the US had already put an emphatic stamp on the cup that sent shockwaves thundering throughout the states. Clint "Deuce" Dempsey dribbled his way through the left side of the Ghanaian defense and put the ball in the back right side of the net for the fastest World Cup goal ever for the United States. I BELIEVE!
It's a long season that seems to be getting longer with each game. After the Phillies 4-1 loss to the Reds on Sunday the Phils are now a season-low 11 games under .500 at 25-36. The worst record in the National League and the second worst record in all of baseball. The Phillies are on pace to lose 96 games. From an ultimate optimist point of view everything in me wants to sing High Hopes and pray for a hot streak but this stretch of bad baseball and any sign of life pushes me closer to the edge of the ultimate Negadelphian, as much as I hate to admit that.
We are 7 games past the 1/3 mark of the season so let's break down some numbers and see why this Phillies team is so bad.
Ruben Amaro took over as the Phillies GM, the day after the Parade in 2008. He was handed the reigning World Series Champions who were just 13th in payroll and were stocked full of young players in their prime. Now just 6 years later, he has assembled one of the oldest teams in baseball with the 3rd highest payroll and they are on their way to their 3rd consectitive season failing to finish above .500.
When Cole Hamels was scratched from Sunday's series finale it seemed as if any hope for a series win had been scratched as well. Instead the Phillies sent 33-year old righty Roberto (Bobby, Bob, Robert, or Fausto) Hernandez to the hill on a blustery day at the Bank. Opposing the Nats lefty Gio Gonzalez, it was Bobby who outshined for the win throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings. After a tough 1st Hernandez cruised, at one point retiring 10 straight Washington batters, and 15 of 17. It was an "as important as they can be in May" series win for the Phillies.
Baseball is now offically back! The Phillies will play their annual "On Deck" Series at the Bank before they head to Texas for Opening Day on Monday. The biggest decision on the 25 man roster is if they carry a 5th starter during the 1st 2 weeks or go with either an 8 man pen or a 6 man bench. The Phillies will also be on crunch for spots on the 40 man, as my projection would have them at 41. But guys like Jeremy Horst and Luis Garcia could be DFA and MAG's could be put on 60 day DL.
We all have a love-hate relationship with DeSean Jackson. On the field the dude is a stud. He leaves DB's in his dust, eating turf, as he effortlessly blows past them. Strutting across the goal line with a mocking stare at the defense. LaRon Landry still has nightmares about that Monday Night game where he opened his big mouth and ate every word. He's the kind of player that you LOVE to have on your team but would HATE on any other team. On the field there is no denying the talent. His antics off the field leave the Eagles shopping the Pro Bowl wide receiver to any and all takers. With all that being said DO NOT TRADE DESEAN JACKSON!
Its crazy to think, but in just one week, there will baseball at Citizens Bank Park. Yes, its the on-deck series but its one step closer to Opening Day! The amount of options for the final few spots is getting smaller by the day. Over the last few days a few players have been demoted or even shipped away and recently we that both Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis will likely start the season on the disabled list. This leaves the door open for a veterans to make a claim to a spot.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, one part of the roster became a lot clearer this week. On Thursday we learned that Hamels would not throw for at least a week and is now likely to miss most of April if not longer. That leaves a gaping hole at the back of the rotation and it will likely be filled by someone who isn't currently on the 40 man roster. As I have mentioned earlier, they will not need a 5th starter during the first 2 weeks of the season, but its almost a guarantee that the likes of Manship, Buchanan or O'Sullivan will make a start for the Phillies in April.
Jason Avant epitomizes character and class. There is something different about #81 and it shows on and off the field. A far cry from the last player to wear that number. Last summer when fellow Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper found himself in dangerous waters, it was Avant who stood beside Coop with forgiveness and mercy. As other players were quick to build up walls, Avant was the first to embrace Coop on his first day back to practice. During a time when Avant had every reason to be angry he chose grace.