"Train wreck" seems like an appropriate phrase to describe this Philadelphia Phillies club when you think about how things have turned out, but the Phillies have had their good moments this season too.
They came into the season expecting to be—and expected to be by others—World Series contenders and instead flopped around like fish out of water throughout most of the regular season, only to get hot following the trade deadline and inspire dreams of a wild card berth.
Sure, they had their excuses. No team is going to cruise through any season with the middle of their lineup and ace on the disabled list for an extended period of time. This game just doesn't work like that.
The Phillies probably should have been better than they were, however. The starting pitching, while solid, hasn't been "elite" (and they're being paid to be elite). They've settled into a comfortable slot just below that. The bullpen has been a disaster at times, and it seems as though any rookie that comes up is shot down pretty quickly.
But there's a flip side to that coin as well. The pitching has been excellent at times, and that includes the much maligned bullpen.
Then again, it is hard to score runs for a pitching staff that you expected to be better when you're replacing several All-Star caliber players with players below the replacement level. But guys like Kevin Frandsen and Erik Kratz have had their time in the sun.
In the end, words are arbitrary. Opinions only go so far. If you really want to know what went wrong (or right) for the Phillies in 2012, let's have a look at the statistics.