BY KEVIN McGUIRE for Phillie Phanatics
When is it time to be concerned?
While the Phillies have been floundering this week against interleague competition, the rest of the NL East has been finding new ways to lose, which means that the Phillies have somehow held on to a two-game lead in the division.
Remarkably the lead is still at three games despite Raul Ibanez heading to the DL. Injuries to Brad Lidge and Scott Eyre, in addition to Brett Myers, have lead to some scrambling in the bullpen. Meanwhile, the offense has had some games where they tally a bunch of strike outs and have made some judgment errors, as well as throwing errors, all too often lately.
I am not hear to say that I am forming a line to jump off the Walt Whitman, but I am saying that the team, and the fans, would not be wrong to have a bit of an issue with the way things are going. I understand that injuries are tough to overcome and with the pitching staff as watered down as it is right now I am anxious for a return to stability.
Many fans are using the rapidly going stale comments like “We’re the defending world champs, so well be ok,” and “We’re still in first place and the Mets will choke away.” If we look at this realistically though there are three reasons to be optimistic about the Phillies.
1. If Brad Lidge returns from the DL healthy and more on par with his 2008 self, the rest of the back end of the bullpen will improve.
2. If Scott Eyre returns and is fine that will bolster the middle relief.
3. Ruben Amaro is not a dummy. He was convinced that Raul Ibanez would be a better fit for this team than Pat Burrell, right? Of course he is looking out for a pitcher to acquire for the starting rotation, so we just need to be patient and deal with the rumor mill until the right acquisition can be made. Trust Amaro.
What do you think? What are your reasons for optimism, keeping in mind that I don’t want to win just the NL East; at this point it’s all about the World Series. So don’t give me the usual “the Mets are no good.” Unlike many fans I don’t set my eyes on the Mets anymore. My eyes are set on the trophy. *
To read more of Kevin McGuire’s work visit his Phillies blog Macho Row.