Seems obvious enough, but it’s one obstruction that didn’t get much play in the aftermath of the Phillies’ 1-8 homestand, and an impediment the Phils never had to deal with last season.
One could point to any number of areas when assigning blame for the Phillies’ six-game losing streak. Starting with Tuesday’s game with Toronto, it certainly did not appear the Phils were giving it their all two days removed from a win over Boston. Sorry at bats and poor defense were running themes all week, but by the time Sunday hit, lackadaisical play may have given way to the pressing need to snap their skid and tight play set in.
Should we give the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles credit? Sure, yes. There’s that, too. The Phils were outplayed and outpitched by all of them, bookended by a dominant perfomance by Jon Lester last Friday and ending with a good one by Jeremy Guthrie yesterday. The O’s held off the Phils yesterday largely because of their defense.
But this losing streak also coincides with the Phillies’ mounting injuries and ailments. Brett Myers is lost for the season. Brad Lidge and Scott Eyre are gone from a bullpen that blew a pair of ninth-inning leads this week. Offensively, production was at a premium. Ryan Howard had his consecutive games streak snapped at 343 yesterday as he continues to battle some sort of flu or infection. Then there’s the loss of RBI machine Raul Ibanez, who has contributed to more clutch, late-inning wins than anyone in baseball. The Phillies are clinging to their East lead largely because of their new left fielder.
A 1-8 homestand should never happen, but the Phils have some valid excuses.