The Philadelphia Phillies are at a fork in the road which will lead them in one of two directions. They are now in last place behind the surging Miami Marlins, who one writer wrote several days ago to watch out for. Ruben Amaro, Jr. is not happy. Charlie Manuel is not happy. The Phillies players shouldn’t be happy.
As they welcome the last place San Diego Padres (11-21) into town the Phils are searching for answers to several questions, including how to fix their bullpen.
Coming off the heels of a sweep to the New York Mets, the Phillies relievers blew leads of 4-0 in the second game and 4-2 in the finale started by Cliff Lee. Combined with inconsistent hitting and sloppy fielding and decision making, the Phillies appear to be headed in the wrong direction.
According to an interview by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, GM Ruben Amaro was quoted as saying, “We just have to get on track. But if July comes and we’re playing like this, we’ll be sellers. How we play now will determine whether we’ll be buyers or sellers in July.”
This was after a closed-door meeting in which Amaro also stated that Charlie Manuel said all the right things to his team and he did not have to add anything extra. It’s on the players now to respond.
Vance Worley will open the series against Clayton Richard. Roy Halladay will take the mound for the second game against Joe Wieland and Cole Hamels will return from his 5-game suspension to oppose Edinson Volquez in the series finale.
The Padres are led offensively by Yonder Alonso with a .292 BA and Chase Headley with 4 HR and 16 RBI.
The Philadelphia Phillies are led offensively by Carlos Ruiz’s .319 BA, and Hunter Pence’s 7 HR and 23 RBI.
This is undoubtedly a series that the Phillies should win with the pitching they have lined up, but the bullpen has fallen to the worst in the league. Michael Schwimer and Joe Savery were optioned to Triple-A and, according to Jim Salisbury, sources have confirmed that the team will call up lefthanders Jake Diekman and Raul Valdes on Friday.
In addition, the Phillies will also promote utility infielder/outfielder Hector Luna. This leaves a few more roster moves TBA to make room for these call-ups.
The bullpen is in need of strikeout arms and that’s exactly what the Phillies hope Diekman will bring. Until the starting pitchers can be assured that when they leave their lead is safe, they will continue to push and possibly make mistakes leaving the team completely vulnerable.
The Phillies still have a long stretch of home games in front of them but they need to find some consistency across the board. Everyone needs to step up, everyone needs to show some pride.
As a fan, we look for Roy Halladay to lead the league in wins and ERA. We look for Ryan Howard to lead the league in HR and RBI. We like to see Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins running wild on the basepaths. We want to see Jonathan Papelbon leading the pack in saves. That’s Phillies baseball.
Now all we want is a series win.
(All stats courtesy of MLB.com and ESPN.com)