Phils Can’t Rest on their Laurels

howard KOn July 29th, the Phillies were riding high.  Very high.  They’d won 19 of their previous 22 games to take a 7-game division lead over the second-place Marlins, and on that morning they made the biggest trade deadline splash in the league, acquiring Cliff Lee without giving up any of their top three prospects.  At that point, the only questions about the team were whether or not they were better than the Dodgers or good enough to win the title again.

Just under two weeks have passed and the Phillies are 3-8 since the Lee trade was announced.  Suddenly, the Marlins are just 3.5 games back and it’s no longer completely safe to assume that the Phils will waltz to the finish line with a third consecutive division crown.  Lee has certainly held up his end of the bargain, winning both of his starts so far, but the team as a whole has been terrible.

I’m not suggesting that the Phillies won’t win the division.  It’s hard to imagine a team with this much talent and experience getting taken down by the Marlins.  But it does seem as though the team may be buying into their own hype a bit too much.  It’s one thing for us fans to sit back and assess whether or not the Phillies have the most talent in baseball, it’s another for the players to be putting themselves in that class.  They won the World Series last year and now they’ve added a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, but they didn’t win that World Series by sitting around talking about how good they were, like they did following the Lee trade.  I know it’s the dog days of August and I know they still have a comfortable cushion in the division, but the team needs to get back to playing attacking, all-out-effort baseball if they want to ultimately get back to where they were in October.  You don’t get there on talent alone.

The Phils will be trying to get back on track on a short, but potentially difficult, road trip to Chicago and Atlanta.  Pedro Martinez will make his Phillies debut tomorrow night at Wrigley Field on ESPN.  Charlie Manuel and his staff have made the right decision in sending Jamie Moyer to the pen to make room for Pedro.  Also, Chad Durbin is back from the DL and ready to go.  The bullpen injuries have definitely been part of the problem in the last couple of weeks, but Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge have looked great at the back-end, and when everyone is healthy (i.e. J.C. Romero and maybe Brett Myers), the pen should be really good.

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One Response to Phils Can’t Rest on their Laurels

  1. I seldom leave a response, however i did a few searching
    and wound up here Phils Can

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