Last October was one of the greatest “moments” in Philadelphia sports. I’m not sure calling it a moment is fair. It was a celebration of baseball that carried on for five weeks. It was one of the greatest joy rides as a fan that I can ever remember. One thing I expected to receive when we didn’t get an early November parade was a quality hangover. That hasn’t happened. This Phillies team appears to be still drunk from the numerous champagne celebrations they had and sobriety doesn’t appear any closer to reality.
The last two years the Phillies were (25-29). Last season after falling 8 games below .500 the Phillies reached the even mark at (29-29). This team doesn’t seem to have comparable resilience to previous models. In 2022 they had Wheeler and Nola both pitching well. The fact that this team hasn’t completely fallen out of contention is somewhat of a miracle. Whether it means they are going to be in the wildcard race in August is yet to be seen. Paint me less than optimistic. The 2022 Braves won the division and didn’t reach .500 until they were (27-27). In 2021 the Braves were World Champions and were (44-45) at the All Star Break! Overreacting to the Phillies record on June 1st should be a cautionary tale, but something just doesn’t feel right. If Alec Bohm is truly injured one of their most productive bats going missing could be a death blow.
I spoke on the air on Tuesday that I’m willing to give this team until the 4th of July to get things figured out. If I’m not feeling it then I’m going to be convinced that last Fall was nothing but a mirage. The 2022 Phillies wouldn’t even have made the postseason unless there was a collection of good fortune that fell into their laps. First of all, MLB had added a 3rd wildcard team that allowed a berth that hadn’t previously existed. Then the Milwaukee Brewers proceeded to lose their hold on the 3rd wildcard spot by losing 10 of their last 14 games. The Phillies went an unbelievably mediocre (4-8) just to back into the spot. Unlikely would be an understatement.
Being shut out in Game 1 at St. Louis until the crazy 9th-inning comeback rally was just the start of the fun. The Phillies caught fire and went on an October run that saw them knock off three teams as an underdog. They were unbeatable at home and the momentum for the franchise appeared real. At the very least, this year’s squad doesn’t seem to have learned anything from it.
Rob Thomson pushed all the right buttons in October but this year appears to be fumbling with the remote. They are a 4th place club playing without confidence or a high baseball IQ. They run the bases poorly, rarely have a shutdown inning after taking a lead and fail to mount comeback rallies often. It’s got to change soon.
Everyone wants to believe. The fans have been showing up in droves. The response from the roster has been tepid. If things don’t turn quickly it will be easy to assume that last year was nothing but a mirage. One of the greatest unlikely joy rides ever in Philadelphia sports ensued. Sadly, I’m not feeling it this time around.