Friday, August 27, 2010

How sweep it ain't for Phils

You could hear it in Charlie Manuel’s voice.

It’s the same thing running through the mind of every Phillies fan.

Doubt.

After the Phils endured an epic sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros, Manuel insisted that he “knows” his team is better than that.

“I think we’re better,” Manuel said after yesterday’s 5-1 debacle of a Businesspersons (Anything But) Special.

He quickly corrected himself.

“I know, I don’t think – I know we’re better than what you’re seeing. I know we’re better than that.”

He might not have a lot of company there.

The truth is I don’t know what the Phils are at this point.

I wrote them off once, only to see them pull a Lazarus and come back to life, despite a slew of injuries. Ironically, their current slide coincided with the return of stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

The loss dropped them three games behind the idle Braves. They also fell out of the top spot in the wild card, now trailing the Giants by half game.

Things don’t get any easier tonight. They head to San Diego and a weekend set with the best team in the National League.

Their stars need to show up, put this team on their shoulders as they have in years past, and rally the troops. Howard, who is usually Herculean at this time of year, was an abysmal one for 16 with 10 strikeouts in his first series since coming back from an ankle injury.

The Phils have survived a lot this season. They might not survive this West Coast trip if they don’t snap out of their doldrums.

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