Sunday, July 18, 2010

Phillies stumble out of second half gate, lose 3 of 4 to Cubs

Remember all those good feelings we had about the Phillies heading into the All-Star break after they swept the Reds? Yeah, that's all gone now after the lowly Cubs trashed the Phillies on Sunday night, 11-6, to give them a 3-1 series win. It would have been a four game sweep, too, if Cubs closer Carlos Marmol hadn't lost his ability to throw a strike on Saturday.

It's hard to put too much blame on Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings on Sunday, considering the offense once again didn't show up until the game was over. The bullpen didn't do anyone any favors, either, as J.C. Romero and David Herndon took a relatively close game and turned it into a Cubs blowout. Sure, if Halladay had been his usual self and only gave up a run or two, the Phils would have easily won, but not even Doc is perfect every time out.

With a 4 game series against the first place Cardinals starting on Monday, things look grim for the Phillies once again. While they are still 5 games above .500 and there is still plenty of season left, the Phils find themselves 5 and a half games behind a Braves team that doesn't know the meaning of the word slump. All season long, we've been using the injury excuse when explaining why this Phillies team hasn't played up to their ability. Now, with the exception of Chase Utley, everyone is back for the Phillies, so when are they going to start winning again?

I'm not quite ready to write off this season for the Phillies but I'm much closer to that point than I ever thought I would be in mid-July. There is still plenty of time for the Phils to right the ship, but if they are going to start making up ground in the division, they need to start beating up on bad teams like the Cubs. When they don't do that, they put themselves in the position of needing to win a handful of games against good teams, like Cardinals and Rockies, their opponents for the next eight games. That's a pretty big order for a team that can't hit and has spotty pitching at best.

A third straight World Series appearance sure seems like a pipe dream now, doesn't it?

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