According to manager Charlie Manuel, the team is trying too hard, pressing a little bit and are way better than this, which puts them right on schedule to finish below .500 this month in their customary tight, underachieving, April way.
The Phillies are 1-6 for the second consecutive season and are headed for another losing April under Manuel’s watch. The bullpen, or lack thereof, is arguably the worst it’s been under Cholly, handcuffing him even further.
As something of a Manuel defender early in his tenure, Cholly’s Phillies have since carved an undeniable pattern of cold starts and disappointing choke finishes, playing tight and squandering opportunities when it matters most. Only after fire sales and when the rest of the league stops paying attention do we see the inspired, high-motor, sandlot superstar brand of baseball that makes them ...
... THE TEAM TO BEAT!™
Give Manuel some credit for helping usher players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley into the majors, but they're established stars now and were top talents before reaching Philadelphia. I ask, if the Phillies can’t play loose, focused baseball, Manuel’s alleged specialty, and squander early chances against teams they’re supposed to beat, like Florida, isn’t it naive to expect anything more than the same middling, May marvel results again this season? Isn't the best word to describe Manuel's status something close to "pointless?"
From the Inquirer - The Phillies left nine more runners on base yesterday and now lead baseball with 68. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stand at .188. They loaded the bases with no outs in the third and fourth innings and scored one run.
I received an e-mail from a long-time reader questioning Lieber's incentive to perform from the pen. "Aside from personal competitiveness, he has no incentive at all," he writes. "Pitching well out of the bullpen works against everything he apparently wants, which is either to be back in the starting rotation, or to be traded to another team as a starter. Pitching out of the pen hurts his FA value for next season as well. So, putting a guy out there with nothing to pitch for except personal pride is not the best scenario. He is NOT going to be our closer or setup man or anything else from the bullpen."
Great moments in motivation
Manuel’s trademark "We've got to get guys to step up" will never be mistaken for a Vince Lombardi quote, but from a motivational standpoint, it’s hard to imagine a better kick in the pants than getting laughed off the field after nine innings of storybook humiliation, and having a full day to think about being ...
... THE TEAM TO BEAT!™