Yes, the Philadelphia Phillies are 3-5 and behind an Atlanta Braves team that has already won seven of its first eight games. Yes, there are concerns about Roy Halladay especially after being shelled by the New York Mets. Yes, Philly is fourth in the NL East. Yes, a run differential of negative 16 is something to be concerned about.
But would you rather be the AAA affiliate that is the Miami Marlins right now at 1-7? Section 215 reports the Fish of South Florida already have a “tragic number” set up as their season ended the moment the umpire bellowed “Play Ball!” for the season opener.
Cliff Lee gave the Phillies exactly what the doctor ordered on Tuesday night against the Mets as he was one out shy of a complete game. When manager Charlie Manuel pulled Lee, the fans in attendance at Citizens Bank Park booed. A rare occurrence so far this season when Phillies fans jeered when they didn’t want to see a pitcher booed.
The offense also clicked as Ryan Howard homered and Michael Young was a mere double shy of hitting for the cycle.
Is there cause for concern? Yes. But teams have started slow and heated up as the season progressed. Look at the 2007 Colorado Rockies. Also, in 2002, approximately midway through the season, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would’ve been on the outside looking in of the playoffs if the season ended then.
If I remember correctly, they were in the World Series that year, which turned out to be a classic seven game series.
To make a long story short, if the Phillies are not in reasonable playoff contention by the July 31st Trade Deadline, Doc could be used as trade bait by Ruben Amaro. One factor is, of course, that he’s in the final year of his $20 million contract and will not command that type of money again at his age.
But those are questions to be answered later…as in if the Phillies are indeed out of playoff contention by the Deadline. Let’s not begin looking forward to Eagles training camp just yet.