When was the last time you heard how Jimmy Rollins and the Philadelphia Phillies performed for a full season? And when did they usually begin to catch fire?
Please, scroll down for this edition of Genuine Insight: One More Time.
This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future. Also, there is a humanizing element.
There will be a published storyline each week.
One More Time:
On the surface, everything is clear: fire sale.
Many complaints have appeared over the last month. Of those some were inevitable: dismissing Ruben Amaro Jr. for real and/or perceived mistakes, screaming about the aging squad and directing anger at so-called delusional management. Currently, the more interesting gripes involve disgust over the recent streak of victories–they won’t sell!–and the fear of more poor baseball shortly. In fact, the negative vibe is so overwhelming that most ignore or question any success by Amaro.
Before getting to the main course, enjoy this appetiser.
If Marlon Byrd‘s advice to Ryan Howard had worked (lowering his hands in the batter’s box), fans would have found a reason to be doubtful, like they have with Byrd’s comments about finishing his career as a Phillie. Both examples show a motivation to stay and win. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz and Wil Nieves will be enormous additions immediately after the All-Star break, but a full 25-man roster is not big news.
Before delving into this crew’s track record, realize certain factors. For instance, look for the contagious element: winning, hitting, having fun or their opposites. The Phils–who prefer to pace themselves before the midpoint break–are a second-half team and have a tendency to fool their fans when they rebound from a rough patch. That said, they have reserved energy for the final 70 battles to play with urgency during the last 10-11 weeks. Their goal is to capture each series and pick up a game a week in the standings: A long string of victories isn’t necessary.
The Second Half:
Firing a general manager is not a snap decision: The higher-ups will consider his entire body of work. In other words, Amaro will handle this trade deadline and the deals for players who cleared waivers in August. Although he will have a quicker trigger this July, he is making plans to buy, stand pat, or sell. If the stars give him a reason to add, he will be in the market for an outfielder to go with Byrd. Currently, Grady Sizemore and Darin Ruf have the next shots at a starting role, but Ben Revere and Domonic Brown are still in the mix.
Last year, the red pinstripes had no stretch run because Howard was on the DL from July 6. In ’12, they only came up short at the end of September and got no higher than two games over the .500 mark. During ’06, the biggest changes to this franchise occurred with the swap of Bobby Abreu to the Yankees and Cole Hamels‘ arrival to cement the core four with Rollins, Chase Utley and Howard.
The results after the four-day break:
- 45-30 (2006) with a 40-47 first half.
- 45-29 (2007) after a 44-44 record.
- 40-26 (2008) after a 52-44 mark.
- 45-31 (2009) with a 48-38 first half.
- 40-25 (2010) after a 47-40 record.
- 45-26 (2011) after a 57-34 mark.
- 44-31 (2012) with a 37-50 first half.
- 25-41 (2013) after a 48-48 record.
- A current mark of 42-53.
Firstly, take a look at the Phillies and then their NL East and wild-card rivals. Despite a hobbled first baseman and the end of Roy Halladay‘s brilliance, the Phils went 13 games over .500 in the second half of ’12. And they did that without Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton. Now, Howard is healthier, Byrd wasn’t in the organization then, A.J. Burnett is better than a struggling Halladay, and the bullpen is much stronger.
The fourth place Marlins (44-50) surprised everybody before going 5-11 since their 39-39 mark. Without the euphoria of winning, they are doubting themselves and don’t have a vet’s experience to reverse this misfortune.
The on-fire Mets (45-50) are on a 7-1 run, but will the break affect them? That stated, they are a first-half team and their optimism usually fades after mid-July. In ’13, for example, they went 33-38 after their brief summer vacation.
At 52-43, the Braves–and the Giants–have a wild-card lead, not a postseason berth. Atlanta opened the campaign at 17-7 but they have been 35-36 since then, which was also last season’s pattern. Because they have a “home run or strikeout” offense, they are prone to long streaks in either direction. Meanwhile, adding payroll will be difficult with the albatross necklace of B.J. Upton ($15 million) and Dan Uggla ($13 million).
If they live up to their potential and learn how to win, the Nationals (51-42) will cruise into serious October baseball. However, they struggle to distance themselves from the rest of the division. In fact, their high-water mark for ’14 is nine games above .500. They shouldn’t have to rally this September, but the injury bug could continue to reek havoc on them. For instance, Bryce Harper is rusty after two months on the DL.
Although a divisional pennant is unlikely, Ryne Sandberg‘s veterans face a senior circuit where the best record is 11 games over .500, and seven other clubs are 3-10 games above .500: Organizations are heading in both directions. Milwaukee triumphed early on but now has three NL Central franchises on their heels. San Francisco after their hot start in the NL West now trails Los Angeles.
Projecting a second half of 15 games over .500, the red pinstripes would go 41-26 to finish at 83-79 for an interesting September.
In other prior articles, tables were causing computer problems and may return at a later date.
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