The Phillies’ troubles are the result of even spread of five intertwined issues. Here they are, in no particular order.
- The starting pitching got out of the blocks very slowly and never fully recovered. Better starts from Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer and Cole Hamels haven’t been enough to pull the team from the depths of the National League in regards to ERA, and all the short starts have taken a toll on an overused bullpen. In my opinion, this is the principal issue.
- The season-ending injury to Brett Myers leaves the team short, while mounting setbacks to Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre are having noticeable consequences. Bank on even more nagging, unannounced ailments to the bullpen, taxed harder than most units.
- The bullpen isn’t as good as it was a year ago, starting with Lidge. He may be feeling “great,” as he told Scott Lauber in the News-Journal, but he’ll still be making adjustments. “The biggest thing for me, even more than velocity, was how I was delivering the ball and driving right toward the target,” Lidge told Lauber Sunday. "I think command will be the biggest thing that's enhanced by me being able to push off my back foot. I was able to push off, and I never thought about mechanics or what I was doing. I just did it.” The bridge to Lidge has also revealed cracks, with Chan Ho Park, for example, thrust into high-leverage spots while still adjusting to the bullpen.
- Their home record (13-22). Whatever hang-up they’re having, they need to get over it. Should Charlie Manuel shake it up at home and make adjustments to the starting lineup? Jimmy Rollins is a preposterous .192/.247/.338 hitter at Citizens Bank Park.
- J-Roll rounds out the list as the fifth and final fail. Every part of Rollins’ game is substandard from what the Phillies have come to expect.