Friday, December 19, 2014

Limping Toward the Break

The Phillies have the fourth-worst record in baseball since June 8. Six more games until the all-star break, and right now it looks like they could use it.

Limping Toward the Break

Adam Eaton got rocked, and the Phillies continued their month of poor play.
Adam Eaton got rocked, and the Phillies continued their month of poor play. RON CORTES / Inquirer Staff Photographer

It's been a month of mostly poor baseball for the Phillies.

They lost to the New York Mets last night at Citizens Bank Park, 10-9. The Phillies are 9-16 (.360) since they swept the Braves on June 6-8. They left Atlanta that afternoon with the second-best record in the National League and the fourth-best record in baseball. They have the fourth-worst record in baseball since. The only three teams that have been worse:

  • San Diego: 7-18 (.280)
  • Washington: 9-17 (.346)
  • Houston: 9-17 (.346)

"We're a second-half team," Jayson Werth said. "I think we've been like that for a while. The fact that we're in first right now I think says a lot about this team. We're definitely not playing our best ball, but I think we've got the guys in the clubhouse who can play very well down the stretch like we did last year. I think the best is yet to come."

But Phil Sheridan said it's more clear than ever that this team needs to make a big move before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"I said from day one the division was going to be very close," Charlie Manuel said. "And I also mentioned Florida. I evaluated their team. With the Mets, we're all jammed in pretty close. There are holes on each team, weaknesses on each team. It's right there for us to win. It's going to come down to whoever plays the best."

And also whichever team fills their holes the best.

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The Phillies made a push to acquire CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians, but they simply didn't have the talent to make it happen.

The Indians wanted a young power hitter, and that hurt the Phillies because their top prospect is double-A Reading righthander Carlos Carrasco. So once the Brewers offered double-A Hunstville outfielder Matt LaPorta, the Phillies had no counteroffer to beat it. LaPorta, 23, was the Brewers' first-round pick in 2007 and had 20 home runs and 66 RBIs in 84 games at double-A Huntsville.

The Phillies have premium position players in their organization, but none who has the pedigree of LaPorta:

  • Second baseman Adrian Cardenas is hitting .315 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 60 games for single-A Clearwater.
  • Shortstop Jason Donald is hitting .306 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 73 games for double-A Reading.
  • Shortstop Freddy Galvis is hitting .227 with one homer and 21 RBIs in 75 games for single-A Lakewood.
  • Catcher Lou Marson is hitting .323 with four homers and 43 RBIs in 78 games for Reading.

Carrasco wasn't the key piece in their package to the Indians. Details are sketchy, but it's safe to assume that at least one of those four position players, maybe more, were put together to try to get the Indians to make a trade with them. But the Indians simply didn't think any of those guys could match LaPorta's potential, so the Phillies lost.

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Brett Myers appeared to take a step forward last night for triple-A Lehigh Valley. He expects to rejoin the team after the all-star break.

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In the Phillies Notebook: Chase Utley is ready for the home run derby, Tom Gordon flew to Florida to begin his rehab program and Pat Burrell needs your help to make the National League all-star team.

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Pitching match ups for this week's series against the Cardinals.

About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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