The Philadelphia Phillies have won 5 straight NL East division championships. For that to continue, some things will need to change. But you ask- "Why fix it, if it ain't broken?" Oh, my child, you have so much to learn. The Phils have been able to outhit or out-pitch the opposition for so long that we as fans have overlooked their flaws. Below you will find a list of things the Phillies can't get away with anymore. To paraphrase my homeboy Jay-Z, they've got 99 problems, but losing ain't one. Read, weep, rant, drink...
1. Bad managing. Charlie Manuel's strength as manager is his likeability. His players love him and he loves his players. Love doesn't win games though. Fuqua has already taken "small ball" to the extreme with retarded bunting. Sacrifice bunts in general are bad because they essentially give up an out. Decades of studies have been done that prove the probability of scoring from 2nd base with no outs is higher than scoring from 3rd base with one out. Why should facts get in the way of Chuck's managing style, he's got the gut after all. And that gut feeling he's been going with when writing the lineup card, making pitching changes, pinch hitting, or defensive replacements so far this season has been wrong. Kendrick the setup man? Blanton instead of Papelbon? Bunting Victorino with no outs to move Pierre to 3rd? Batting J-Roll 3rd? Starting Galvis at 2nd?
Do you remember all the managerial blunders Manuel committed in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and how they lost the Phils games and a shot at the playoffs? Yeah, it might be like that again.
*Side note- sacrifice bunts are okay in final at bats, when the pitcher is hitting, or when Freddy Galvis is at the plate. Hell, having Galvis bunt every plate appearance might actually be beneficial.
2. Inability to stop opponents running game. Brian Schneider is a backup catcher, but he sucks at everything he does aside from calling pitches for Vance Worley. Carlos Ruiz handles the pitching staff with the efficiency of a field general, but he's below average in regards to caught stealing percentage. The opposition can run practically risk free on the Phils and those extra bases will lead to extra runs, which will lead to losses.
3. Carrying bad players on roster. For the past 5 seasons the Phillies were a good enough collective group that they were able overcome the shortcomings of some of the players on the roster (examples- Abe Nunez, Eric Bruntlett, So Taguchi, Juan Castro, Michael Martinez, Adam Eaton, Danys Baez, Antonio Alfonseca, JD Durbin, Jose Mesa, and numerous bad seasons by others). With this current cast of misfits, they're no longer afforded that luxury. Freddy Galvis, Pete Orr, and Brian Schneider can't hit...at all, yet all 3 are on the Phils 25-man roster. Schneider is bad at everything, Orr is versatile, but so what, and Galvis apparently plays earth shatteringly amazing defense, but can't hit or get on base or hit or get on base or hit or get on base or hit...you get the idea.
4. Sign players to horrible contracts. Ryan Howard anyone? If you read this blog you know all the reasons that we detest Howard's contract extension. But let me highlight one reason- his contract is hamstringing this team from making improvements to the roster unless they wish to pass the luxury tax threshold. Let me make this simple for you- no way in hell Howard gets 5 years $125M with a ruptured achilles...but he did, from Amaro. Other bad contracts- Blanton's and potentially Papelbon's.
5. T-Mac, Sarge & Wheels. Okay, this really has no baring on the outcome on the field, but we're only 4 games into the season and I want to stab my eardrums with rusty screwdrivers. Want a drinking game? Kick back a shot for every time Sarge says "for me" during a telecast. You'll need your stomach pumped. STFU!