Although it never made headlines, the Phillies did, in fact, reacquire “expectations” after the non-waiver deadline. They had previously traded “expectations” away, after a short and fruitless career in Philadelphia.
They were doing just fine without it, when all of a sudden, they got “expectations” back for a low-level minor leaguer. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t been working out. “Expectations” is still the clubhouse cancer, screwing with heads and playing with fan emotions.
It’s interesting how players have responded since "expectations" has returned.
The Jeff Conine deal happened right around the time national writers starting making their predictions. Many slotted Philadelphia into the Wild Card.
That night, “expectations” returned to the clubhouse. He cornered Conine first. After all, they rode the plane to town together. After yesterday’s 0-fer, it looks like Conine is already pressing. "Expectations" claims his first, as Conine claims a baseball bat.
This weekend, we saw a bullpen getting exposed at a predictably inopportune time. They had their best month in August, after Pat Gillick seemingly gave up and traded two key members away. Isn’t it interesting, too, what's happened to Chase Utley since this became "his team." Chase is carrying a look of a player who's either out of gas or out of faith. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins seem to be the only players who couldn't wait for games to mean finally something – but it’s like they’re living a dream few others share.
Looking specifically at the games they’ve lost, you could point to a couple areas, specifically the bullpen. But there’s no coincidence they're starting to cough it up now that it's all on the line. Same for Cincinnati, who’s now 2 1/2 out of the Wild Card after leading most of the summer. The Reds were he most active NL player at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the team without expectations, Florida, now trails the Phils by a half game, while San Diego, a team that made it to October last year, is starting to distance themselves from the pack.
The best teams always find room for expectations. The Phillies never seem to have room on their roster.