Two Days Off! In any world, that would sound like a blessing. As a fan of baseball, it can be agony. Depending on what team you cheer for, it might be a blessing in disguise. For Phillies Phans, it will probably be a mixed bag of thankfulness or impatience.
The Phillies took an 8-7 loss to the Mets in the opener of what was supposed to be a four-game series. The Phils led that game 7-1 in the top of the ninth. It was one of the worst losses in recent memory. The Mets are on a hot streak and have killed the Phightins’ offense and a bit of their confidence. Until the Phillies lost on Thursday, the Mets had been 0-330 trailing by 6+ runs in the ninth, and teams had been 0-684 when trailing by 6+ runs in the ninth.
Bryce Harper called a players-only meeting after the collapse. Maybe, this will turn things around for the “Phillies’ Mother’s Day Double-Header Extravaganza.” Hopefully, the boys in the red pinstripes will take a game or two for the moms. Game 1 will have a 12:35 pm start time, followed by Game 2.
Dombrowski and the Team
President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, is a winner. He knows what he is doing, and it shows from his track record and what he has done with the Phils thus far. Dombrowski created a winning culture in Detroit and Boston through their playoff appearances and has two World Series rings to prove it.
In a recent interview, Dombrowski is just as frustrated as the players, phans, and city. However, it is not Joe Girardi’s fault for every loss. Much of the weight does have to fall on the players. In the case of Thursday’s loss, Norwood and Knebel got bitten by the proverbial unlucky bug.
Girardi is a decent manager. Yes, he has mismanaged the bullpen. Yes, Joe messes with the lineup way too often. Girardi has one ring in a string of playoff appearances with an organization that tried buying championships instead of forging them.
On the other hand, the Phillies have entered the spending game too. The organization went over the luxury tax for the first time, and it has not paid dividends yet. Dombrowski believes in this team and is willing to give it the patience it deserves. The patience might be between a couple of weeks, the end of May or June. This patience will determine if Joe Girardi is fired or if the front office makes a move.
The difference between Dave Dombrowski and Matt Klentak, for instance, is that Dombrowski will make a trade without a doubt to fix this team. Klentak never made any move that panned out for the Phillies, so that is why he is not running this show anymore.
If there is anything that can allow Phans to rest assured, it is that Dombrowski will find a cure.
Didi is down, and Stott is back in the Show
After a few weeks of getting consistent playing time and at-bats in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Bryson Stott returns to the MLB. The Phillies’ number one overall prospect has a hot streak in the minors as he is batting .333 (12 for 36) with two home runs and seven RBIs.
Phillies starting shortstop Didi Gregorius went down with a knee injury during Thursday’s 8-7 loss. He was placed on the 10-day DL, so Stott should get starting time at the Major League level.
Stott has shown his resilience by taking his demotion seriously, and hopefully, it translates better than his initial stint a month ago. Stott can build up his momentum and show his defensive and offensive capabilities as an MLB Top 50 prospect with more time at shortstop at the Major League level.
Leave the Past in the Past
The Phillies teams of 2012-2021 need to be left in the dust. It was the team’s way, but it does not have to continue. The current squad has lacked the Phight in Phightin’s. Call it being a professional and not showing emotion, but this “bear and take it” attitude is not Philly.
Philly ballplayers that understand Philly and the culture will know that to win in this city is better than anything else. Showing that you care and that you can Phight for every game is what the Phanbase loves to see!
The current team needs to release or eliminate certain players from past mishaps or lousy baseball, i.e., Roman Quinn and Odubel Herrera. The Phillies released Andrew Knapp, so there is no reason to keep the others. The team will make the right decisions and will get better. The team is not out of the race. The rest of the NL East, barring the Nationals, are contending teams with the talent to win the division or make the playoffs.
So, Phillies Phans, Have the Phaith!
This Team can and will win sooner rather than later. They will never be out of this Phight!
Photo: Bill Stretcher/USA Today Sports