Where do we start? A lot has gone wrong with the Phillies in 2012, and just when you were convinced things were turning around, they lost a four-game series to the worst team in the major leagues. They also fell to below .500, again, at 73-74.
Charlie Manuel's decisions with the bullpen turned out disastrously—a common thread for the majority of the 2012 season.
Is Charlie simply making terrible decisions, or is everyone in the bullpen just that bad?
My guess is probably a little bit of both.
Manuel likes for pitchers to pitch out of trouble. Thing is, he doesn't have pitchers who are capable of that, so he needs a much shorter leash with all of them. It seems like whoever he brings in gets shelled. What he is doing isn't working. He needs to adapt to the players he has. Charlie has some raw talent in his bullpen—he just has to use the right tool for the job.
The Phillies are not playing like a playoff team—at the plate, on the mound and especially in the field. The last few weeks have certainly made it clear that third base is a serious issue moving forward.
Kevin Frandsen has hit very well since being called up, but his defense has been sporadic, to say the least. How Michael Martinez is on a major league roster is mind-boggling. He's a 30-year-old batting .172 (17-99) with an OPS of .474. His career numbers are consistently as bad, a career average of .188 in 308 at-bats.
The Phillies have to adjust their outfield situation as well—they do not have one legitimate starting outfielder going into 2013. Pierre has had the best season by far and he just turned 35. Brown seems to be the only outfielder who will be guaranteed a starting spot next year.
They need power and they need it bad.
The Phillies head to New York next, a must-sweep if the Phillies have any chance at all to make a playoff run. Their schedule after that is not an easy one, to say the least. Atlanta, Washington, Miami and then back to Washington.
It's not an easy road ahead, but stranger things have happened. Either way, the Phillies have one of the most important upcoming offseasons in a long, long time.