Philly Sports Live

Week 17 in Review

The Philadelphia Phillies were poised for a big second half push after remaining in striking distance for most of the first half of 2013. They came into last weekend in second place and 7 games behind the Atlanta Braves. They are a notorious second half team under Charlie Manuel, always finishing strong with steady play.

After eight games post All-Star break, the Phillies have gone 1-7, losing their last seven games. After scoring 13 runs against the Mets in their first game back, they’ve not scored more than four runs in these seven games, and twice have managed to score only one run over a two game period. They have played from behind almost the entire time.

They lost two out of three to the Mets at Citi Field, then were swept right out of St. Louis and are now on the verge of repeating that feat in Detroit.

Aside from the Tigers series, the Phillies managed to get men in scoring position with less than two outs, only to falter at the plate. On the flip side, the Tigers lead the majors in team batting average and are second in runs scored. Not a winning combination against the Phillies’ 24th ranked pitching staff.

Detroit feasted on the Phillies bullpen last night after they were thrust into action when Cliff Lee was scratched from the starting lineup. The Tigers lit up Raul Valdes for nine runs in less than four innings.

The shame of it is that heading into the All-Star break; the Phils had managed to win four consecutive series, taking one each from the Pirates, Braves and Nationals. Impressive and encouraging as that was, they then were tasked with series in St. Louis and Detroit against two of the best teams in baseball.

They have not been able to play good baseball and continue the string of series wins. These games against the Cardinals & Tigers have really shown how weak the National League East has really been this year. The Braves still stand well ahead of the Phillies and Nationals, but they’ve also been guilty of inconsistent play of late, as well as losing players to injury.

All of this has led to lots of speculation as to what the team will do when Wednesday’s trade deadline finally arrives. A week ago, this fan base was thinking buy, buy, and buy in the hopes of continuing their strong play with a possible missing bat in the outfield.

As they stand now, and if the losing streak continues, it is almost certain that they will be sellers and attempt to acquire pieces for the future. They have a full holster of trade chips that include the likes of Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young, and Cliff Lee and of course Chase Utley.

Rumors have circulated in the last few days about a possible contract extension for Utley, something that every Phils fan would love to see happen. Utley is that one player that every fan wants to keep in their uniform for the duration of his career.

It would certainly nauseate fans to see Lee traded yet again, but seeing what the Cubs got back for Matt Garza has to at least peak Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s interest in what Lee could bring. A hard decision, but one that should be considered when trying to build for the future.

Jonathan Pettibone will try and stop the losing streak today at Comerica Park, but for this team and the hole they’ve put themselves in, it might be too late to stop the bleeding.

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