July 11, 2014 by Peter SandilosThe Phillies never make it easy, and this season, that has proved to be truer than fans care to admit. This time, the front office has a heavy hand in the blame, and this was reinforced tenfold this week.
Recently, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. went on “The Mike Missanelli Show” and talked about his plans for the team. What we heard from Amaro was not what the fans wanted to hear. He said he is still focused on trying to retool rather then rebuild. It feels like a broken rec-ord because it’s constantly being said, but this is a team that needs to rebuild from the bottom.
For some reason, Amaro believes otherwise.
He believes that retooling the team will allow fans to watch and cheer on more wins than if the team goes through a rebuilding stage. He is absolutely correct: retooling will allow the team to win more, but winning more does not mean getting into the playoffs. It means regular season wins and mediocrity. There is no doubt rebuilding will make them endure horrible seasons, but it is something that must happen in order to see a brighter future. At this point, it will be more frustrating to watch a Phillies team win more but go 82-82 than watching a Phillies team filled with scrubs go 30-132. At least going 30-132 means young talent will be drafted, refueling the farm system, which is pretty much depleted right now.
Moving on from the future of the ball club, the team has some good news in the here and now. This week the Phillies had four games against the NL Central-leading Brewers. The Phillies were able to put together a good, if not great, series. They won all of the four games in the series, with second baseman Chase Utley leading the way with seven hits and two home runs.
On Monday, the Phillies played their first of the four games against the Brewers, winning 3-2. Outfielder Ben Revere and Chase Utley both had two hits and Utley brought in two runs as well. Cole Hamels pitched a big game, allowing just one earned run in six and two-thirds innings pitched.
The second game saw the Phillies explode for nine runs, which was good enough to overcome a shaky start by Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick gave up seven earned runs and could only manage two strikeouts while walking another two, but the Phillies’ bats gave them the 9-7 win. Chase Utley had another big game, driving in three runs and getting on base twice in four at-bats. Surprisingly, outfielder Dom Brown had a big game as well, hitting a home run and driving in three runs.
On Wednesday night, the Phillies’ magic continued as they won again, this time 4-1. The hero of the night was Jimmy Rollins, whose sixth-inning home run gave the Phillies the lead and ultimately the win. Utley again had a nice game, getting two hits and driving in another run.
It has been a good week for the Phillies and a surprising one at that. If the Phillies weren’t 10 games under .500 this type of series would really get fans excited for what could happen moving forward from this series. Unfortunately the Phillies are seated at 41-51, 10 games back of first place in the NL East.
But silver linings emerge. Chase Utley has been playing extremely well this season. After a few seasons where he has been kept away from the field by injuries, Utley has been playing an injury-free, dominant season. The second baseman is hitting .294 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs. It is a wonderful sight to see Chase hitting the way he can, unencumbered by injury. He was selected to his sixth All-Star game this season, his first since 2010, and will be the only player representing the Phillies in Minneapolis.
It’s been a tough season to endure, no doubt. For now, fans will just have to keep stomaching the tough losses, enjoying the occasional wins and cheering on Chase Utley’s All-Star season.