Feel better about the Nationals series now? Funny how, even over the course of a long season, the mood around here will sometimes shift with a dramatic win or disappointing loss, with an unexpected roster move or a disheartening DL stint.
The Phillies bludgeoned the New York Mets, 10-0, at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Good thing. Some people dont deal with setbacks, minor or otherwise, as well as they once did. Maybe thats what happens when a team thats treated the city to such a smooth ride, motoring along on cruise control for much of the season, suddenly hits a pothole or two: for some, the bumps feel bigger than anticipated.
Soooooo this is what we got...mild grade 2 strain. DL. Thats what Jimmy Rollins tweeted at 2:03 p.m. on Monday.
By, oh, 2:04 you could hear the grumbling from a faction of Phils fans grow louder. Some wondered if maybe things were unraveling a little for the Phillies as the season winds down and the playoffs approach. On the radio I heard people fretting (again) about Cole Hamels missing his last start. At my local convenience store, the clerk had a drawn out but otherwise entertaining meltdown about the bullpen blowing two games down in Washington. When Rollins revealed that he was being decommissioned for a time, I momentarily considered taking cover and waiting out the latest (over)reaction in one of those Cold War-era fallout shelters or, failing that, a neighborhood tavern.
Some media members alluded to the aforementioned concerns and added a few others. In the dugout before Mondays game, one ball scribe noted that the clubs lead in the NL East was dwindling, while another reporter questioned whether an older team could overcome its medical maladies during the playoffs.
I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but I checked anyway. Nope. The sky wasnt falling. I think we should make that a CSN Alert. You cant be too careful with these things.
Even before the Phils dispatched the Mets, the Fightins still had a comfortable lead in their division, not to mention the best record in baseball. If youre the panicky sort, its something to remember when the Phils lose another game or, gasp, several. And be sure to keep a copy of the standings handy ifwhen the next injury is announced works even better than paper bags (re: preventing hyperventilation).
As I wrote last week, the Phillies havent given people a whole lot to complain about this season. But, again, perhaps thats why the issues that do materialize are magnified and tirelessly examined.
And so Charlie Manuel fielded many questions about Rollins on Monday, most of which were ostensibly designed to gauge the managers stress level on the matter. Manuel was typically polite. If youre wondering, he hopes his shortstop is only out for 15 days and, yes, hed really like to get Rollins back soon.
The pitching coach was less inclined to patronize the pack as it closed in around him to ask how worried he might be about the bullpen, particularly following its poor performance against the Nationals over the weekend. After quite a few queries on the subject, Rich Dubee had heard enough.
(Brad) Lidge had a tough one, he said. (Ryan) Madson blew a save. It happensmove on.
No chance of that.
None of this means the Phils are infallible, or even that the clubs current situation is ideal. They arent, and it isnt. In addition to all the other issues that have been outlined and underscored, no one can be sure or confident that Placido Polanco is fully healthy (even though he just got off the DL). But heres the thing that so many of us sometimes forget: No team in baseball is perfect. Each club has concerns. If you had the power to swap the Phils out for any other club in any other division, would you?
I dont think the Phils are going through anything extraordinary as far as injuries or losing a game or two that they probably should have won, one major league scout said. Thats all part of the 162-game season. Its a long process. If Im a Phils fan, Im not worried. Of all teams in the baseball, theyre the team Id worry about least. Every team has problems. They have fewer than most, and they deal with the issues that pop up better than most.
Look at what they did in the off-season with (Cliff) Lee. Then they needed a right-handed bat, so they went out and got (Hunter) Pence. On top of that, they have homegrown guys who have contributed. (Vance) Worley. (Mike) Stutes. (John) Mayberry. (Michael) Schwimer. The Phillies organization, since the run of division titles started, has proven it can survive the ups and downs. So what are we talking about?
E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.