As if the 2010 version of the Philadelphia Phillies wasn't aggravating enough, the thinned-down and beaten up version of the Phillies is enough to drive a man insane.
Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, J.A. Happ, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, and others have all seen time on the bench or the DL. In fact, the only guy to see time in every game this season has been Ryan Howard—that's it. One guy.
And due to the mix of injuries to big-name guys, it's likely the Phillies could miss out on the playoffs altogether, much less repeat as NL East champions for a fourth consecutive season or NL champs for a third consecutive season.
The Braves sit atop the NL East right now and don't appear to be slowing down. They're winning the close games when they have to and are doing all the little things they need to do to stay atop the standings.
Then there's the Mets, who look like they're just a few weeks from hitting a real stride and perhaps challenging the Braves for the division. Or, as the Mets are known to do, completely fall apart.
Quite honestly, there's just no telling with that team.
The Phils are only four games back right now, but I expect that number to go up now that they're without a couple key players.
And then with teams like the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers, it's likely the Phils wouldn't even be able to win a playoff spot as the wild card team.
I would expect the Cardinals and Dodgers to win their divisions, which would leave the Phils in a wild card battle against the Mets, Reds, Padres, and Rockies. And honestly, they're just not going to be able to compete with those teams in their current state.
Everyone is expected to be back this season, but it could be too little too late. Utley is gone for two months and it's obviously going to be very difficult to replace their best hitter and a guy who has been a rock in that No. 3 spot in the lineup.
Polanco could struggle with that elbow all year long and could eventually wind up getting shelved altogether. Happ has looked awful in his rehab starts, and Ruiz is still bouncing around from specialist to specialist trying to figure something out with his head.
And even with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Jamie Moyer all pitching well—along with a decent season out of Kyle Kendrick but a struggling Joe Blanton—the bats can't get enough run support for the guys on the mound.
Even when they only allow two or three runs, it's just too much for this depleted unit to put together. In fact, it appeared to be too much while everyone was healthy, so it's not exactly a surprise.
The Phillies have become to beacon of hope for Philadelphia, and I understand that, but it might be time to temper the expectations and take this team for what it is this year—just a middle-of-the-pack squad who might get lucky and get hot at the right time.
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