Jul 25, 2013, 10:22 PM EDT
So the St. Louis Cardinals just won all three games of their home series against the Philadelphia Phillies, bringing the Fightins’ post All-Star record to 1-5. That one win, the superfun 13-8 Mets blowout in Citi Field that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates, indeed feels very long ago now as the Phils have lost all five since, with only that first loss against NY even really being close. I’m pretty sure the Phils never led in this St. Louis series, though I’m too depressed to check the box scores again to verify. In any event, they never seemed like they were going to win, and only sporadically seemed like they might have a chance. Fun to watch, this week has not been.
The five straight L’s drop the Phils to a lackluster 49-53. Because the Braves and Nats have been nearly as crappy since the break, Philly is still tied with the latter for second place and just eight behind the former, and still a within-reach-ish nine out of the Wild Card, with the Reds 14 games over .500 in third in the Central. However, the good times should continue to roll for the Phils through the weekend, as they travel to Detroit to face the AL Central-leading Tigers, whose run differential is currently +161 on the Fightins. Objects in the NL leaders’ rearview mirrors may be further than they appear.
So…that’s probably it for this bunch, right? The trade deadline is less than a week away, and if RubeJun was leaning towards selling already (careful on that bannister, RAJ!), it’s hard to imagine the last few games made him re-evaluate the strength of his position much. Five days and change might not be enough to engineer a full-on fire sale, but a couple familiar names seem likely to be on the move–take your pick from Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins, and possibly even Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. Mailing addresses aplenty will soon need updating.
At the very least, it seems all but impossible that Ruben will deign to try to bolster this bunch at the expense of our already thin farm system–when you’re four games under .500 and advanced stats say you should be way worse than even that, Alex Rios isn’t going to be the difference-maker between playing in October and getting to work early on your Halloween costumes. And that’s fine–I think most of us knew it was going to take a whole lot of luck for this team to even have a shot at making the playoffs, and if we were gonna be that lucky, we probably woulda knowed it by now. The ’13 Phils are not exactly a squad that screams “Team of Destiny.”
All that’s left, then, is seeing whether Amaro opts for a second straight partial, bet-hedging rebuild, selling off Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz for scraps, or if he unloads completely, sending Chase and Cliff on their merry as well and maybe getting a blue-chipper or two in return. I’m still torn about what I want in that respect, but I do definitely know that I would like to never see Laynce Nix get two starts in a row for this team again–no amount of rebuilding should ever be able to justify that. Let’s put that at the top of the To Do list, huh, RAJ? Just because we’re bereaved doesn’t make us saps.
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