After yet another loss on Monday in Arizona, the Phillies are still on a 110-loss pace. It’s unpleasant and terrible and demoralizing. And Freddy Galvis, the longest tenured Phillies player, is really feeling it.
Here’s what he told the beat writers yesterday after the game, courtesy of Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.
"In spring training, if you told me we were going to have this record, I wouldn’t believe it," shortstop Freddy Galvis, the team's elder statesman, said after the last loss. "I believed we had a good team. But we just can’t put anything together. We play well for five or six games and then we go to another six- or seven-game losing streak.
"It’s hard. It’s hard to see. It’s hard to believe it. [Bleep] it. We have to [bleeping] play harder every single day. We need to try to do better."
That’s just part one. Galvis had a lot more to say about his team.
"The effort has to be more than we have right now if we want to win," he said. "I think we have to do a little bit more — if we want to win."
Sometimes it almost seems as if losing is becoming habit to this team.
"We’re losing, we’re losing, we’re losing and I don’t see any change so far," Galvis said. "If you get used to it, we’re [bleeped]. We have to have a different mentality every time we come here. We have to try to win. We have to try to fight for nine innings and 27 outs."
And here he is talking about whether the low expectations for the rebuilding Phillies have affected his teammates.
"If you get that into your mind you’re [bleeped],” Galvis said. "We’re players. We have to play hard, 24-7. And that’s it. Yeah, they say we’re a rebuilding team, but we still have good players here.
"Sometimes you have to relax a little, just breathe and let it go. When we’re in a winning streak everybody just relaxes and plays baseball. But right now it’s not that way. We want to do it so badly and in the end we don’t do it because we try too hard. Let our abilities speak for us and go from there."
I have a lot of sympathy for Freddy here. I really do. He’s been with the major league club since 2012, the last decent season the Phillies had. They went .500 that year, which means Freddy has never experienced a winning season in the majors. And he obviously sees a lot of talent in this team, or he wouldn’t be saying those things. He’s frustrated, and he wants everyone to work harder.
But Galvis also talks about breathing and letting things go, the way players do when a team is winning games. It’s hard to recreate that, since as he points out, everyone is hyper-aware that the team is sucking.
Here’s my take on Freddy’s comments: what I think he wants is for the players to work hard at being their best, instead of trying so hard not to lose every game. It feels like a fine line, and it is, but the difference is important. He believes the Phillies have talent, and if everyone can work to highlight that, the wins will come naturally.
Maybe the low expectations of the front office has seeped into the players’ brains. I can’t definitively say yes or no, though nothing has changed between this year and last year or the year before. Well, one thing has changed. Pete did say in spring training that he believed that this team could be a .500 team. And if everything broke right, that could have certainly been true. But it’s clear from the injuries and regressions and Bob McClure’s machinations that almost nothing is breaking right this season.
This Phillies team is definitely better than they’ve been showing. But I’m not sure just how much better. And in my opinion, if anything has seeped into their brains, it’s the constant, never-ceasing losing. They get behind in a game due to less-than-great pitching, and they pretty much know they don’t have a chance to catch back up. If the pitching somehow holds, they don’t have a lot of confidence that they can plate that winning run. Why? We have 51 losses worth of why. It’s hard to build confidence from nothing. Something has to go well in order to build on it.
I don’t blame Freddy for being frustrated, or for airing his frustrations in the press. What the team is going through is hard. I’ve been an advocate for the front office taking their time with the prospects, and I still believe in that. But when the major league team gets to be comical, it starts to feel like there is no point but misery. I want something to be done about it, but I’m not sure what can be.
We’ve all been waiting for the team to find a happy medium between enormously sucking and mediocre crapitude. Thus far, the they haven’t found it. It’s going to be a long summer for the Phillies. And a long summer for the fans.