Philly Sports Live

Week 14 in Review

Few series this season have been as vital to the Phillies season as this one against the Braves. Couple that with a series against the second place Nationals to follow, and the Phillies find themselves in a make it or break it home stand.

After a west coast swing that should have resulted in more wins, they came into PNC Park in Pittsburgh where they have not enjoyed much success since the place opened. Yet, thanks to two great outings from Jonathan Pettibone and Cole Hamels, the Phils took two out of three from the Pirates and finished the road trip on a high note.

Hamels, at long last, got his third win of the season, allowing only one earned run on five hits in seven innings. He also struck out eight. His season earned run average not sits at 4.38. Pettibone allowed only one earned run in 5 2/3 innings pitched on Tuesday; his ERA is now a point below four.

They were able to keep it going into Friday at Citizens Bank Park, when Cliff Lee turned in a quality start, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched, striking out four.  Though J.C. Ramirez allowed one inherited runner to score, he along with Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon were able to nail down the win against the division foe.

Last night went the Braves way, as they jumped on Kyle Kendrick early with two home runs in the first two innings. They went on to club the Phils 13-4, evening the series at one. That means that the Phillies must win today in order to gain some ground on the Braves, in this case one game. They send Pettibone back to the mound today against Kris Medlen for Atlanta.

Again, the will follow this series with a four game affair with the Washington Nationals starting on Monday. The Nationals sit ahead of the Phils right now in second place, underachieving for the better part of 2013. The Fightins will have a golden opportunity to overtake them for second place in the division and inch closer to the Braves.

Looming over all of this is the trade deadline on July 31st at 4 pm. The Phillies have exactly 24 days to try and make a push to prove to the league and to their general manager that they’re for real. 24 days to get relevant and be taken seriously.

The reason they must prove it to their general manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr., is because he must then decide what move is best for his club. Is it more beneficial to use valuable trade chips (Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young, and Chase Utley) to try and acquire pieces for the future?

Or does he use what’s left of his minor league system to try and get a bat?

This much is clear; the Phillies have been middle of the road all year. They’ve left wins on the table, blown leads late and have had their offense go dormant more than a few times.  With the age of this team’s core group getting up there, adding some young guns for next year and beyond might be smart.

Even if they win today and sweep the Nationals next week, they’ll have to keep up the consistency to catch the Braves, or have any shot at a wild card spot. They’ve been unable to find consistency all season.

So, when your most expensive position player cannot stay health and your most expensive pitcher has only three wins on July 7th, what bat is there to acquire that can make enough of an impact for this team to help fuel them to victory?

I’m not sure it’s out there, and the right thing to do might be to consider the future. Because the present isn’t one that anyone would like to open on their birthday.

Stats Courtesy of

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