The Phillies could always seek refuge in reliable glovework, but like every other facet of their game, the Phils' defense has become indistinguishable from baseball's other mediocrities.
Beerleaguer: Saturday's eyesore of a loss becomes another sobering milemarker in this dismal season, one in which the standards of excellence we've come to expect have all been shattered, including reliable defense. Fittingly, it was an error by Jimmy Rollins, the symbol of great defense for more than a decade, that led to the runs that cost Cliff Lee his treasured first win. Rollins' declining glove is now reflected in tangible ways; it was already his fifth error of the season, and by most metrics, he's on track for his worst defensive season in 10 years. Just as Jimmy often sets the tone for the offense, the defense has also eroded alongside him, along with the pitching and offense; the offense may be getting their runs, but it's still missing those difference-making hits, particularly late in ballgames, when guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez would routinely flip the script with one swing. In previous seasons, the bats could bail out the Joe Saverys of the world. Today, the bullpen is often left totally exposed.
After the game, Charlie Manuel was fuming. With a worsened defense, there's nowhere he can seek refuge. The defense was the last stronghold of an age-old tradition, and now it appears to be gone, too.
The Phils and Blue Jays conclude at 1:07 Sunday. [Jump to the newest comments]