Call it a reverse black cat. Call it anything you want. But this Phillies team, which is four games out of first place, is not only not making the playoffs.
They are not going to finish .500.
So many things had to go right for the Phillies to contend this year. For the most part, it is just not happening.
True, Chase Utley has had a bit of a resurgence, still leading the team in both home runs and runs batted in. But he never had a ton of range at second base. Now, his knees just don't let him go where he wants to go. With five errors and a .972 fielding percentage, he had better hit.
All the other "must haves" for this team are little more than wishes unfulfilled.
Roy Halladay needed to be an elite pitcher again. You can forget about that.
Carlos Ruiz needed to come back from suspension and be a .300 hitter again. So far, he is hitting .200.
Ben Revere needed to be a table-setter and a run-scoring machine. All he has done is proven the age-old adage that you cannot steal first base.
Michael Young needed to be a run-producing right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup. Somehow, despite hitting .310 thus far, Young has nine runs batted in. Slugging .395 as a third baseman is pretty sorry.
It would be great to have this piece be Exhibit "A" when the Phillies are leading the National League East by five games in late September.
Failing that, though, these are the moves the Phillies will need to make at or before the trade deadline.