Consistency. That is one word that falls under the category of 'antonym' when describing the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.
Well, sort of. They are playing unbelievable baseball outside of the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park (25-12, 67 percent). However, while at home, they are miserable (13-22, 37 percent).
What is causing this anomoly of baseball? Is it a World Series hangover?
Some would say so, including skipper Charlie Manuel, who urged Philadelphia Phans to 'boo' and get on the team when they don't perform. Is Uncle Cholly trying to recreate the atmosphere of the 2008 season?
The Phillies' problem is nothing new for long-time followers of the ballclub. After all, these are the same players we've watched progress over the last three-to-six years.
The problem is consistency. This group of guys is, and has always been, a very streaky bunch. They win in bunches, they lose in bunches.
So far in 2009, the Fightin' Phils have won three or more games in a row on five seperate occasions. That stat includes two streaks of five wins and one streak of seven.
On the other side of that coin, the Phrustrated Phils have lost three or more games on three seperate occasions. The worst losing streak suffered by the Phils so far is at six games.
Listen, the red and white pinstripes are still in first place in the ailing NL East. That being said, the 'cause for concern' aspect of this article is brought on by the Phils sub-par recent record of 3-11 in their last 14 games.
Manager Charlie Manuel is doing his best with the patchwork starting rotation and the struggling bats of his position players. In fact, he bumped former MVP Jimmy rollins from leadoff to the six-hole.
Similarly, last season the skipper benched J-Roll for lack of hustle one time, and another for being late to a game. I guess some players just need that 'fire lit under them' to get going.
Some bright spots would have to be yesterday's win with JA Happ's complete game shutout joined by Werth's offensive night. Add in Pedro Feliz and Ryan Howard's output, and you have yourself a 10-0 victory! Let's save some of those excess runs for a game when we need them, shall we?
These guys need to shake things up a bit, maybe keep John Mayberry Jr. around, trade some of the extra farmhands for a big league innings eater (Cliff Lee anyone?), maybe even give some of the Double-A or Triple-A guys shot in the bigs (Kyle Drabek, Joe Savery, Carlos Carrasco).
I am not the decision maker, I'm a fan, a fan that wants to see my favorite team win. And to do that, I think it's getting to be that time where you have make some changes. Start with pitching, as Raul Ibanez's imminent return will certainly boost the offense.
See you at the ballpark!