Thursday, September 26, 2013

Playing Out The String

So this is what it feels like to have your baseball team playing out the string? Have you noticed how literally NOBODY CARES what is happening with the Phillies right now? I can’t blame them, but it’s been a good 10 years since the Phillies didn’t play a meaningful game in September and it just feels weird.

I catch an inning or two here and there and let my friends know what’s happening. The other night, for instance, a haggard looking Roy Halladay took the mound in South Beach. This is a town where three incredibly short/long (depending on your point of view) years ago he threw a perfect game. This start was exceptionally painful to watch. Halladay looked like Chet Steadman after he threw his arm out at the end of rookie of the year. He topped out at 83 on the gun and got one out before giving up two walks and had to be lifted in the first inning. Knowing Doc, he will probably undertake a grueling offseason regimen and find a team he can try out for in spring training, but hanging them up is probably his best option. Depressing is the nicest word you can use.

When I give my buddies an update; the responses range from “who cares?” to “Riley WHY are you watching this?” If my girlfriend is around and I have the Phillies on then I really get to hear it. She knows they’re out of it, so what’s the point of following a team of guys you’ve barely heard of? I say do you realize how different every night would be if the Phillies were still in this thing?

The lineups the officially under contract for three years Ryne Sandberg gets to trot out this last month are not exactly a who’s who of proven talent that Philadelphians are used to seeing. Here’s a sample of names you might see..

Cesar Hernandez
Cody Asche
Darin Ruf
Roger Bernadina

With guys like this coming out of the bullpen or making spot starts..

Joe Savery
Ethan Martin
Justin De Fratus
Luis Garcia

Who? Exactly.

This (once, for a short time) proud franchise has fallen on hard times so quickly. It’s hard to believe that two years ago the Phillies won 102 games and had the best record in baseball for the second year in a row. They had the lowest ERA in Majors that year. This year, they have the highest ERA. Not only that, they can’t hit. That’s a pretty deadly combination when it comes to your chances at making the playoffs.

Blame can be thrown in almost every direction for this dreadful season that actually still had promise at the All-Star break. Names like Howard, Rollins, and Amaro are almost starting to leave a bad taste in your mouth due to frustration. It’s hard to believe that the Phillies can make it back to the postseason with the core that has basically let them down the last two years leading the way. Sandberg insists he will do things differently. We’ll see how the superrich over-the-hill guys on this team react to having a guy who may be more Larry Bowa than Charlie Manuel running the show. There’s hope that Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins still have not hit E on their gas tanks, but there’s not a lot of it.

So here we sit with 4 games remaining in the season and one Cliff Lee start left to have vague interest in. Nobody’s going to watch because nobody seems to care. I guess I don’t blame them, but this is still my team for better or worse. I’ll be following. I’ll be hoping against hope.

Stay tuned for a season recap complete with analysis of my boneheaded predictions from the beginning of the season.

Go Phils!