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Phillies fans' boos during final homestand were justified

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"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"

Yes, I know the team with the most wins in baseball was booed during their final regular season game on Thursday night.
 
And truth be told, they got off easy.
 
Since clinching the division Saturday night, the Phillies are now 0-6. I understand that there will be a lull after such an early division clincher, but the lackluster play by the big club-Lehigh Valley IronPigs has been downright insulting to watch for anyone who paid admission for these ‘scrimmages.’ John Bowker? Seriously? What do you tell the hard-working dad who shells out a ton of cash to take his son to a game?

Shane Victorino can say all he wants about the fans, but they aren't paying US millions of dollars to perform. He should get it by now. I'll be the first one to stand up and admit when Philadelphia sports fans take things too far, but it doesn’t even seem like their heads are in these games whatsoever. At least look alive. Philly sports fans might not always be right with their assumptions or actions, but you can't fool them, either.

The bats are sleeping....again

When one Phillie goes bad, it seems they all do. Or in this case, at least the Phillies’ top three hitters. Jimmy Rollins, Victorino, and Chase Utley were a combined 0 for 36 during the four game series against Washington. Utley, who isn’t even hitting .200 this month, is struggling so badly that the proverbial ‘pass’ that he seems to get for any wrongdoing can’t even be excused for this. 0 for 36 would be unacceptable for the Houston Astros, so no pass will be given here for anyone.

No Cy Young Award for Halladay or Lee

It’s kind of disappointing that the best pitching staff in baseball most likely won’t have anyone who wins this year’s award, which was still within Halladay and Lee’s grasp until this week. Now I’m not here to rag on these guys. They are the reason why the Phillies are in the position they are in. To be fair, the offense is abysmal again. In saying that, both pitchers were not their best this week. As a result, Halladay, who has looked exhausted since July, won’t win 20 games. You can’t continue to give up major two out hits, which Halladay and Lee both did this week. More importantly, you can’t allow the opposing team’s pitcher to hit doubles (Kyle Lohse on Monday night against Halladay) and come around to score the eventual game-winning run. Same goes for Lee, who gave up an RBI single to Nationals starter Ross Detwiler Tuesday night.

Regular season records are probably out of reach

It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Phillies would eclipse 101 wins and set the all-time single season record for franchise victories in 2011. Now they will be lucky if they win another game this year. For the ‘greatest Phillies team ever,’ that is very disappointing. Also keep in mind that Charlie Manuel would have become the Phightins all-time winningest manager if the Phillies won 102 games this year. It was all set up so perfectly, but keep in mind that this is Philadelphia. Things can change if someone sneezes wrong. Don't get me wrong, another parade is what we want, but it really would have been a nice touch to what will hopefully be a memorable season.

The scouts are out: What’s really pathetic is that scouts from possible playoff teams were at Citizens Bank Park this series scouting the Phillies. I’m sure they had a field day with what they saw. From a junk baller like John Lannan to Brian Peacock who was basically throwing fastballs, the Phillies haven’t been hitting much of anything lately.

Going into the playoffs:  Manuel obviously wants to rest his players because the Phillies hopefully (?) have a long road ahead of them the next few weeks. The team has been essentially playing without their two best hitters in the lineup, Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence, which accounts for a major part of their offensive decline. Manuel is supposedly playing Howard Friday night and Pence Saturday, so hopefully you will see a jump in production.

To be honest, the Phillies have their share of issues and nagging injuries as October beckons. Placido Polanco is playing with a sports hernia, Howard is playing with bursitis, and Pence has patellar tendinitis. Antonio Bastardo  seems to have has nothing left in the tank, and the Phillies don’t have a legitimate seventh inning pitcher.

Bottom line: We’ve seen this before. With the exception of the 2000 Yankees, the hottest team going into the playoffs usually wins it all. Look at the Phils in 2008 and the Giants last year. You mean to tell me the Phillies, Yankees, Rangers weren’t better all-around teams in 2010?  As for 2011, the Cardinals appear to be that team.  As bad luck might have it, the Phillies would face them in the first round if the Braves’ collapse continues. I’m sure that taking three out of four from the Philles definitely gave the redbirds’ confidence a boost. If you think the offense is bad now, wait until they face Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia in a five game series.

I’m up in the air with this team right now. Yes I realize their full lineup has not been playing regularly, but the Phils were slumping with the bats as far back as their series against the Brewers. No matter what the general media says, I’m not so sure they can magically turn it on and off. When they struggle with the bats, it’s ugly. Just look at last year in the NLCS against the Giants. If this happens again in the playoffs this year, there will be a major backlash on behalf of the fans and understandebly so. And don’t be surprised if Manuel starts feeling the heat if his team owns baseball’s best record two years in a row and fails to win the World Series again.

Hopefully the Phillies get their groove back in the next week or so and this is all a moot point, because it’s going to be a long winter in the Delaware Valley if they don’t.

In the meantime, Keep On Phightin.'

 

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com 

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