In the minutes after Roy Oswalt was struck in the back of the neck with a line drive I think the Phillies should have calmly packed up camp and started their trek north. Sure, it is a balmy 34 degrees today in Philadelphia, but the sunny climes of Clearwater, Florida haven’t provided a very safe refuge for the training Phils. If this was football, we’d be sitting in that meaningless week leading up to the 4th pre-season game. When deciding whether or not a broken down Mets 2nd baseman is going to make the team is leading most stories, I think it’s time for the season to start.
Between actual injuries (to Brown, Utley, Polanco, etc) and unfortunate circumstance (Victorino’s outfield collision and now Oswalt), it feels like only bad things are happening to the Phillies this spring. I guess Cole Hamels needs one more start to work on his command, and Polanco could use some at-bats, but I get a little nervous checking the boxscores these days. I wonder who the next Phillie to leave after their first at-bat will be. At this point, if anyone else is going to go down, you’d at least want it to be in a game that counted.
The whole team seems a little restless too. I think this starts with Charlie Manuel, and trickles its way down to everyone else. Manuel seems uncharacteristically chatty and worried about his line-up. He squeezes the “3 and 5 hitter” into every answer he gives it seems, and talks about a guy stepping up. I’m not sure what he was expecting from Ben Francisco, but I don’t think he could have had a much better Spring. Did he think he was going to morph into Roberto Clemente out there? Did he think Ruben was going to conjure up a trade for an All-Star outfielder?
Charlie has never been able to really separate himself from his offense as a manager. He has no problem deferring to Rich Dubee, but the former hitting coach takes pride in his hitters. It was a nice spot to fall into here in Philly when he took over a team that had a good line up, but now that the offense is showing a few cracks in the armor it seems like Charlie wants everyone to remember that Werth and Utley are missing. Charlie should realize that ultimately he’s not going to be the one judged on the offense. He may take it personally, but I didn’t see him throwing himself in front of the bus that clipped Milt Thompson last year. As the head guy, Chuck should realize you have to go to battle with your guys and you can’t make excuses or wish you still had players that are gone or injured. I think we are past making guys feel comfortable or complacent. How about showing some confidence in who you got?
It all adds up to an overload of nervous energy and anticipation. I think it exists in the team and in the fan base. We need to get April 1st in the book, log a game in the standings and then maybe everyone can exhale and relax a little bit. Hard to believe you can get cabin fever down in Clearwater, but I think that’s what we’ve got going on here.
Some Goals for the rest of March:
- At-bats for Polanco.
- Castillo given a ticket back to Miami.
- Roy Halladay walks around in protective bubble.
- Oswalt makes his next scheduled start.
- A couple of line drives for Carlos Ruiz.
- A spot on the team for Pete Orr–the guy grows on me.
Quiz of the Day: World History A to Z. Category: Dead People. My Score: 17/26.
This one really takes me back to 7th grade. Shout out to Mr. Hibbard and a past Sporcle Quiz for giving me an answer or two. By the way, Moors and Moops are both incorrect.