The Phillies completed their homestand by going 5-5 after taking a 5-4 loss to the Pirates yesterday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies took the series against the Rockies, lost the series to the Rays by being swept in a doubleheader and mustered only a split against the Pirates.
It was not like the Phillies’ opponents were creme de la creme. This is where they had to beat them at home in order for them to go on a run and gain some games in the NL East standings. It did not happen as they are nine games out of first place in the NL East heading to tonight’s game against the Marlins.
Anytime a team goes 5-5 at home, that’s not a good thing. The great teams always go 7-3 or 8-2 at home and beating up bad teams in the process. That’s what the Phillies used to do at Citizens Bank Park. A 5-5 record is only acceptable when a team goes on a road trip.
This was not going to end well for the Phillies when they failed to sweep the Rockies last Thursday night. That was a team they had to beat in all three games. They couldn’t hit as they stranded several men in scoring position early in the game, and it gave them a 4-1 loss.
If the Phillies couldn’t get a sweep against the Rockies, the feeling was they were going to lose some games to the Rays and the Pirates, and that’s what they did.
The Phillies almost were swept by the Rays. Had Jim Thome not hit the game-winning home run on Saturday, it probably was going to happen. Losing the series by getting swept in the doubleheader on Sunday was not good as they went 3-3 in the first six games of the homestand.
The Phillies needed to take three of four from the Pirates just to salvage the homestand. It never happened as they won only two games against a mediocre team.
If the Phillies couldn’t make hay in this homestand, what makes anyone think they are going to make a run this summer? This team can’t hit with runners in scoring position, and they still can’t pitch. They are not making it happen. They have no spunk. No one gets the feeling they are going to come back after trailing in the game. It is not a good sign.
The only good thing about this homestand was Chase Utley’s return from the disabled list on Wednesday. He went 3-for-5 in his first game of the 2012 season, including a home run and three hits. He looked like he was in midseason form by the way he hit the ball.
This homestand is not make or break for the Phillies, but it’s a sign that they do not have enough to make a run despite many weak teams in the National League. They showed nothing at all this season to get people to think they can make a run. Their starting pitching is not good enough to make folks think they can win many games, their bullpen has not been sharp and their hitting has been inconsistent too often. It has become a downhill trend that has gone on for two months.
One has to wonder how it’s going to get better. Maybe Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Utley can make a difference, but that’s not a guarantee. They can’t overcome their deficiencies that have plagued the team all season, especially when the starters does not give them a chance to win with the exception of Hamels.
There are folks that talk about the Phillies making a run. That team better get it going in the first few weeks of July or Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will start trading his players for prospects. That would mean he has given up on the season.
This is why this homestand was important. The Phillies needed to do well to set the stage for a run that would last for a long time. If they did, optimism would be high.
This homestand raises more doom and gloom along with doubts. It might as well be a resignation that the Phillies are not a playoff team.