Philly Sports Live

Week 11 in Review

Week 11 of the 2013 season was one of missed opportunities and frustration for the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming off another lost series against a team they should beat handedly, the Phillies limped into Minnesota for an interleague series against the Twins.

It did not go well.

Here was yet another chance to climb back up to .500 against a struggling squad, yet the Phillies had continued issues at the plate and in the bullpen. Tuesday night saw Mike Adams; they’re free agent setup man fail to hold a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. If you’re scoring, his record is now 1-4 and his earned run average is north of four. Not at all what the team thought they had in the “best setup man available” last winter. Perhaps that isn’t staying all that much.

Wednesday night saw the Phillies go into the bottom of the eighth with a one run lead, and fail to hold it. This time Antonio Bastardo began the frame, and allowed back to back doubles. After a sacrifice bunt, he was lifted for Justin De Fratus.  After recording the second out, De Fratus uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the go ahead run to score. Both runs were charged to Bastardo, and he was saddled with the loss.

Cliff Lee, the team’s stopper, got the call on Thursday and was again able to stop the bleeding. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on just three hits. His offense managed a total of just three runs on 16 hits. Four of those hits belonged to Ben Revere, playing against the team that sent him to Philadelphia. The Phillies are not 7-1 in games started by Lee that follow a loss. His record improved to 8-2 with an ERA of 2.55 for the year.

Friday night the team showed how much they are capable of doing. Down 7-2 heading into the sixth inning in Colorado, the team benefitted from two bases clearing triples from super utility man Freddy Galvis. Freddy became the first Phillie since Scott Rolen to triple in back to back innings. That capped a six run comeback and sank the Rockies by a score of 8-7.

Of course, this roller coaster of a season took a familiar turn on Saturday, as starter Jonathan Pettibone was rocked for six runs in the first inning. He lasted just three innings on the day, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs. It was his shortest and roughest outing since his call up.  The team wasn’t able to respond until late in the game, ultimately losing 10-5.

So once again, two steps forward, five steps back. The team gained traction last week with a sweep of Miami, only to lose three of four to Milwaukee.  LAST PLACE Milwaukee. Then they manage to lose a series to Minnesota, who sit in fourth place in the American League Central and are 16-17 at home this year.

No Chase Utley or Carlos Ruiz right now, and backup power hitting catch Erik Kratz went down in Milwaukee with a meniscus tear. Roy Halladay, or course, has been out since early May.  Guess what? It doesn’t matter. You have to find ways to carry on and win the winnable games. This team has not. Even though they’ve gotten just about everything they could hope for from their depleted pitching staff, the offense just is not there.

Ryan Howard has never seemed on track since his devastating Achilles injury that ended the 2011 season. His power is down, and he’s struggled against everyone, not just lefties. He’s hitting .261 with seven home runs and 33 runs batted in. Respectable numbers perhaps, but he just has not been that presence in the lineup that he once was.

Yet, due to an underachieving and in some ways overrated division, the team is third place and 7.5 games out of first place. The second place Nationals are just a game and a half ahead of them. They are exactly the same amount back of the last wild card spot in the National League.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. keeps insisting that he’s not interested in trading away some top talent such as Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon. All posturing aside, he has to be thinking about it. If they are still 7.5 games out come July 31st, it really doesn’t say much.

Would they have a reasonable shot at the postseason? Sure. But if they remain seven or eight games out or more by the end of July, well what reason does that give anyone to believe they can make that ground up? And would adding a bat like David DeJesus of Kansas City really make any difference?

In this case, getting some pieces for the future might not be a bad idea. You don’t necessarily have to blow the whole team up, but consider your best trade chips, in this case Papelbon for a team in need of a reliable closer, and see what holes you can fill for next season. Get younger, quicker, stronger, and faster.

Because they’re sure as heck not getting any younger, or for that matter, better.

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