Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Philadelphia-phillies-lee

Phillies Left-hander Cliff Lee was will attempt to notch his first win of the season against the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a 3 game interleague series today.

The Philadelphia Phillies have won 5 consecutive NL East titles. In that span, they’ve also won a World Series title for a Championship starved city. Make no mistakes, this has been the true Golden Age of Phillies baseball. This season, however, has seen the level of competence dip. And moreover, the fans of this team are growing impatient. Is this great run for the Phillies finally over?

When we entered this season the hope was that their amazing pitching could keep the Phillies in games and close enough to the top of the division to allow them to go on a run when their walking wounded returned. So far, the pitching hasn’t been all that special. I’m not taking a shot at the pitchers themselves, it hasn’t been all their fault. But when you wind your way into June and Cliff Lee is still without even a single win and Roy Halladay is a very pedestrian (by his standards) 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA you know things have not gone as planned. Lee is frustrated, Halladay is out and even Cole Hamels, who started the season on fire, but even he has cooled down a bit now. Joe Blanton, as undervalued as he can be, has self-destructed and is on a string of terrible starts.

The hitting has been very disappointing. No one expected the Phillies without Howard and Utley to be a run producing machine, we only expected them to hold their own. Frankly, at times they have. But a lack of consistency coupled with an apparent lack of fire and determination has proven fatal for the Phillies. With Howard probably still over a month away from returning and Utley still shrouded in secrecy, the Phillies are now 7 games out of the division lead.

Things can change quickly in baseball, only a week or so ago, the Phillies were 3.5 games out. Things can still get better. There are more than 100 games left to be played. But watching this team on a regular basis doesn’t give me the idea that there is a switch about to be flipped on. I actually think this team is really doing the best it can. That’s the sad part. If I thought there was terrible underachieving on this team, I’d feel better, at least hopeful that there could be a turnaround. I get the sense that what you’re seeing is the best this team has. And that, frankly, isn’t good enough. This team isn’t good enough.

I’m not bailing on the Phillies. A lot of people take criticism of a team as an indication that loyalties have changed. My loyalty to this team has been challenged by way worse performances than we’re seeing right now (think late ’80s or even worse, late ’90s). I’m just trying to give you an honest analysis that I believe is rooted in reality. The voice of reason if you will.

I wrote earlier this season that what you see with these Phillies is what you get, and I’m standing by that analysis. With so many games still ahead, there is always a chance that things could turn around. I’m just not convinced that the Phillies are going to be able to turn it around with the cast of players here currently, and even when Howard and Utley return to expect them to be able to carry this team may be more than a bit unreasonable.

It is entirely possible that this is just one of those years. It is also entirely possible that this is the beginning of the end. Hard decisions will lie ahead for this franchise. Hopefully, they will make good ones.

Similar Posts:

  • Phillies Getting Hits; Just Not Making Them Count
  • Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Chase Utley Soon to be Clearwater Bound
  • Phillies Odds and Ends – Offensive Ineptitude and Injury Updates
  • The Philly Phace Off – Who Means More to the Phillies? Utley or Howard
  • Is Utley’s Return A Good Thing for the Phillies?

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