I used to write a post called Morning Wood, a daily, day-after recap of all the nonsensical things from Phillies games. In case you haven’t noticed, that routine has mostly stopped. Morning Wood inherently implies a joyous a.m. boner, something to be proud of. It can still exist following losses so long as the larger context – the Phillies’ season – is even slightly worth investing your time in. But that’s no longer the case– the Phils are worthless and useless. It used to be a summertime ritual to watch games at the shore or at a backyard BBQ or at a bar or anywhere else you found yourself on a summer holiday weekend. But not now. Who can honestly tell me that they went out of their way to watch any of the weekend games against the rival Nationals this weekend? Or yesterday, a Memorial Day game AT FENWAY, with cool uniforms? Yeah, me neither.
I thought about it a lot this weekend – I used to worry about getting at least a few Phils-related posts up on weekends at the shore because no matter how nice it was outside or what else was going on in the world, people still went out of their way to care about and follow the Fightins – but I kept coming back to the same question this weekend: who cares? The game on
Saturday Sunday was the perfect example of why no one does. A pitchers’ duel between Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg(!) on a holiday weekend in the nation’s capital. Perfect. But then in a matter of minutes the Phils managed to ruin what was otherwise an enjoyable afternoon: Freddy Galvis couldn’t complete the Chase Utley glove toss to first (gives away an out), Michael Young makes life hard for Humberto Quintero on a bases loaded force play at the plate (the ball bounces away and two runs score), Delmon Young tries to climb the foul pole on a ball that ricochets off the seating cutout 40-feet away (an extra run scores), Cole Hamels leaves the game looking like he wants to maim someone.
That’s what Ruben Amaro has done to this team in a nutshell. Role players who can’t play their roles. Chase Utley makes that toss to first. Placido Polanco wouldn’t have made that throw to the plate. Carlos Ruiz wouldn’t have dropped that ball. Jayson Werth or almost any other outfielder on earth knows that there’s a cutout down the line and that balls will bounce into shallow right. But not Galvis and Young and Quintero and fat Delmon Young. No way. That’s the problem– everyone knows the veterans are aging, and instead of backing them up with reliable talent, Amaro has incredibly managed to do it with mostly misfits and underachievers (speaking generally). The reason the Phils were the best team in baseball in 2010 and 2011 wasn’t because they had great starters, it was because they had a great team. They plugged guys in who could play the right way. But now… the drop-off from starter to role player is humongous, and because of that, the Phillies stink.