You watched the game.
The Phillies lost because their stars are coming up extremely small yet again. They went 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Watching third strikes go right down the middle of the plate with men on base, swinging at baseballs in the dirt, giving up key home runs in late September baseball games, it was all there.
What we’re here to talk about is the despair that is setting in watching this team.
We’ve grown accustomed to defending this year’s version of the Phillies. “They’re different!” we’ve all said at one point or another, the team seemingly rid of whatever bad juju has been haunting them in the past. The roster was deeper, more flexible and allowed the manager, a new one since the old one wasn’t cutting it, more ways to garner more tallies in the win column. They had added a key piece to their lineup that was a going to be a big influence in September, a clubhouse presence that “has been there before” in a playoff chase that would be able to help guide the team through the choppy waters of the playoff grind. They had the reigning MVP who, through grit and determination, had gotten back to the team to help provide that last inspirational lift that teams sometimes need in the waning days of a season to rally around.
Instead, we’ve got a team that is shrinking the white hot heat of said playoff chase and there doesn’t look like there is anything on the horizon that can stop it. They’ve now lost nine of twelve games, they haven’t looked like they can win anything of consequence for longer and whatever hope there was that they would be able to avoid yet another collapse in the final month of the season is nearly gone.
They’re playing poorly.
They’re making bad decisions at the plate, they’re making bad pitches on the mound, they look tight in the field and quite honestly, they look very much in danger of losing this playoff position very soon. It’s almost an inevitability that they’re about to go from being the ones hunted to being the ones that need to do the hunting. Sure, we’ll see someone say they aren’t panicking. One of those leaders will talk about how the clubhouse still believe in each other, how they still have confidence that they can do what is necessary to win games...
...but do they?
Should we believe in them?
Words are great and cliches might work around each other in the clubhouse, but at this point, what have they done to make us believe it’s anything more than hot air? Why should we think that it’s more than words floating into the ether, absorbed by the stench that is starting to rise from rotting corpse of a wild card lead?
The last thing we want to hear are these quotes being given yet again. With another loss to a team that shouldn’t be beating this team, more and more people are starting to check out on the team, even though they still sit in the pole position for the final playoff spot.
Want to hear people stop yelling about the $300 million contract given? Put up better at bats.
Want to hear people stop complaining about the lack of batting average atop the batting order? Stop looking at pitches down the middle of the plate.
Want to hear people stop getting frustrated about the poor plate approach? Deliver with runners in scoring position.
Either that, or you run the risk of losing an entire city not just these remaining days of the 2022 season, but also in 2023. It’s time to stop talking about how good you are, how confident you are and actually start performing like it on the field.
The time is now.