It is quite obvious the Philadelphia Phillies are in a slump. A team riddled by injuries and inconsistency without an ignition towards change.
Despite getting an extra innings 2-0 win in St. Louis yesterday, where Cole Hamels shined, the team still showed the overwhelming stress that comes from being back-to-back National League Champions.
The Phillies have been plagued by non-existent bats that have turned consistent players like Jayson Werth searching for a way to right the ship.
The legendary preseason beard Werth was rocking during his early hot streaks has been reduced to a whimsical and mildly scary goatee in an attempt to fix his batter's box issues.
We've seen things like Chase Utley using voodoo on his bat to ease his hitting struggles. Yet the hitting gods couldn't keep him from a thumb injury that will have him sidelined till Labor Day.
When things like this happen to a team with so many expectations from the public, front offices usually try to ignite their lineups with a trade or the firing of a manager or bench coach.
The Phillies did just that last night firing hitting coach Milt Thompson. Thompson, a former Phillie and member of the 1993 NL Champions, was with the team for six seasons and was a main contributor to the team's 2008 World Series run.
The rumors of a firing surfaced just weeks ago heading into the All-Star break. Manager Charlie Manuel vehemently supported Thomspon stating:
Many people in the Philadelphia media saw this move coming as most of the team's struggles are coming from the batter's box.
We all knew a firing was going to take place and getting rid of Thomspon is the easiest solution.
The real question is: are the Phillies using Milt Thompson as a scapegoat for other front office transgressions?
Right now the Phillies are sitting seven games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, which is good for second place. Not exactly where you'd like to sit heading into August, especially with the strength of the NL Wild Card Race.