Instead of doing the traditional morning links, we’re going to take a little diversion. Because the Phillies are getting down on themselves, and so are we, and I think we all need a little perspective.
Yes, the Phillies got swept by the Mets. And yes, the Phillies have been dominated by the Mets since 2014. But the Phillies have been pretty putrid since 2014, and the Mets haven’t. This is still a rebuilding team, a team full of young players trying to find their groove.
It’s easy to be hyperbolic about the Phillies. Thus far, it’s been feast or famine. They’re overwhelmingly great, or they’re bad. But even that’s not quite true. They almost won last night’s game against the Mets, and a similar game against the Nationals last week. But when they don’t live up to our expectations, it feels bad because we expect so much more of them.
But the Phillies expect even more out of themselves. Check out what they’ve said about themselves.
In the last 24 hours, the Phillies have used the following words about themselves: unacceptable, terrible, just horrible, embarrassing.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) April 13, 2017
That’s heartbreaking. And here’s what Vince Velasquez said about his performance last night.
Say what you want about Vince Velasquez, he doesn't make any excuses. He realizes what perception of him has become. pic.twitter.com/Yv458ja4lS— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) April 13, 2017
These Phillies expect so much out of themselves. They know what they can do, just like we know what they can do. We’ve seen it, and they’ve seen it. We see them as a rebuilding team (which is what they are), but they don’t see themselves as that. They may have a ceiling, but they know they’re not even close to it.
Vince Velasquez is a slightly different case here. He’s being extremely hard on himself, but he’s also not been great since last year. But we know what he can do, and so does he. That’s why he’s such a frustrating pitcher. (Here’s a link: read Ryan Lawrence’s piece on Philly Voice about Velasquez’s crisis of confidence.)
I hope the Phillies understand how much they’ve accomplished over the last ten days. In just over a week of games, they’ve shown us that they’re going to be a lot more interesting and entertaining (not to mention better) than the last three Phillies teams. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance and evidence of true growth. There are so many positives. Yes, we’ve seen shitty play. But it’s not the same as it used to be. It’s not hopeless. When Odubel Herrera or Cesar Hernandez whiff on a pitch down the middle, that’s the exception and not the norm.
This team has so much potential, which is why the Mets series was so frustrating. But that’s kind of the point of potential. It’s forward looking. Many of these players, and the team as a whole, have the capacity to be great. They have it within them, but it’s not all there yet.
Everything is so close, which is why we’re having these feelings. But we need to be patient, because the Phillies aren’t quite ready. There’s more growing and improving to do. But if the Phillies’ comments about themselves tell us anything (besides that they need to be a little kinder to themselves), it’s that they’re desperate to improve and show us what they can do. Freddy Galvis has been on this team for ages (seriously, look it up, this is his sixth season with the Phillies), and so has Cesar Hernandez. Neither of them has been on a winning Phillies team, and it’s obvious they’re tired of it. They’re all young and ready to show the world they’re not the same Phillies that suck the life out of a baseball game.
And they’re not! That’s not who these Phillies are, for the most part. They’ve got more talent than they’ve had for at least four seasons, and the passion and drive I’m seeing from the players is amazing. They want to win! They believe they can win! But when they don’t, I hope they can try to be a little kinder to themselves. Because they are trying. And losing is part of the journey — it’s frustrating to watch, but it’s how a team like this can grow.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this morning’s special editorial edition of news and links. We’ll be back to normal tomorrow.