Before the Phillies embarked on a 10-game road trip I laid out my expectations if I was to continue to believe this team might be capable of turning things around enough to make a postseason push something worth considering possible. As I reiterated last Monday, that was for the Phillies to pick up no fewer than six wins with stops in Milwaukee, Minnesota and Colorado. Seven wins would have been more optimal of course as they return home for a series with the Washington Nationals. As you know by now, the Phillies failed flat of that mark, returning home with just three souvenir wins from their trip, one in each city. To put it nicely, that road trip was an embarrassment on a number of levels.
I think I may have seen enough.
I gave the 2013 Phillies a chance to prove to me they would be a team to take seriously moving forward but even I have to put my usual optimism aside and come to grips with the fact that this team is just not a very good baseball team. I have felt that for a while but if there was any doubt creeping in the back of my head then it has been removed after watching the Phillies once again struggle against teams below .500. The only kind of teams that struggle so consistently with teams below .500 are losing teams.
The Phillies, at 33-37 and 8.5 games back in the NL East and NL Wild Card standings, are not a team that anyone should show much faith in this year if your hopes are for some October baseball. You can make the injury excuses but it is beyond time to take a look at the bigger picture. This is not a fluke, not when over the last calendar year the Phillies have had a losing record more routinely than a winning or .500 record.
The problem seems to me to be that Ruben Amaro has become too attached to the old ways that led to the Phillies success. He has placed too much faith in the offense and the moves he has made to be able to keep this team afloat. Instead he has invested a tremendous amount in pitching. On the surface, I struggle to criticize him for many of the moves he made at the time, but we now can see that the focus may have been better served in attempting to field a capable outfield and ensuring the bench was not easily depleted.
Look, I'm not throwing in the towel entirely. Until the Phillies are officially eliminated from postseason contention, I'll be right there with you. I'm not stupid to think there is no way the Phillies make a comeback in the second half. I'm just tired of seeing this franchise continue to dig a hole so deep it becomes nearly impossible to climb out of before it is too late.