The Phillies celebrated the final day of June by falling a season-worst 9.5 games back of first place in the NL East after dropping a four-game series 3-1 to the equally woeful Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. The trade deadline is now just weeks away, which means the team is almost out of time to convince Ruben Amaro Jr. he shouldn’t start selling off some of their assets.
But hey, no sweat, right? The Phils still got this. The Dodgers had their number, but I’m sure when the Fightins roll into PNC Park for three on Tuesday they’ll handle the Pirates, even if Pittsburgh does have the best record in baseball. (Seriously, it’s true.)
What? Not quite the right tone? Doesn’t quite convey the urgency of the situation?
Oh, I’m sorry. Just taking a cue from Jimmy Rollins, who is trying to stay cool, keep an even keel, spreading the positive vibe. Only there is being upbeat, and then there is plain delusional. Rollins’ confidence in the Phillies wasn’t the least bit shaken by another loss in LA, and as a result, falling further behind in the standings. I mean, we haven’t even made it to the All-Star break!
Enough with the laying it on thick. Here are J-Roll’s remarks before a long plane ride back to the east coast:
“No,” he said. “I’m not disappointed at all. This series could have been 3-1 in either direction or 2-2. They played a little better. They got the job done and that’s all that matters.”
“It’s a journey,” he said. “You jump on that plane and enjoy the ride. As long as that plane is in the air, you have a chance to do something. Last I checked, we haven’t made it to the All-Star break. We’ve been in tougher positions with much less time.”
Long-time readers probably know I’m not the hang-on-every-word type when it comes to athlete comments. Their goal is usually not to say anything interesting, so you kind of expect Jimmy to respond with the typical The locker room still believes stuff. Frankly, they should still believe in themselves.
But when I heard that, for some reason I felt like asking one of the traveling writers to grab Jimmy by the shoulders and give him a good shake. You’re not disappointed AT ALL about losing a series to stay five games below .500 as we head into July?! There’s a huge difference between not panicking and not being realistic.
Whether they realize it or don’t, we can all see the Phillies are in trouble. Their record is 8-14 over the last 22 games, and potentially franchise-altering decisions are on the horizon. We like J-Roll, and realize at the heart of what he’s saying there is wisdom – that until you are mathematically eliminated, you play ‘em out and see what happens.
All the same, a little desperation probably couldn’t hurt, either. Hell, let’s start small. Just be upset when you lose. Everybody else is.
UPDATE: Now with video: