Manuel Lays Into Phillies in a Closed-Door Meeting
This season hasn't been pretty and finally Charlie Manuel has seen enough.
The Phillies who enter every season these days with World Series aspirations are floundering, occupying last place. It's not that they are in last place, its how they got there and finally - Manuel couldn't take it anymore.
After Wednesday nights sloppy loss to the Mets which including - little league-esque fielding, runners camping out on the bases and the bullpen just imploding in front of our very eyes - Manuel unloaded on his team in a closed-door meeting.
While Cliff Lee was sharp in his return from the disabled list, holding the Mets to two runs on five hits and one walk in six innings, the bullpen was dreadful. Kyle Kendrick entered and left with an ERA of 45.00 for the night, giving up five runs in just one inning of work.
"Something needs to change," Lee told the Philadelphia Daily News. "We need someone to shake it up and get us on back on track to being the team we know can be."
Getting swept by the Mets is bad, getting swept by the Mets in a series where Roy Halladay and Cliff pitch is embarrassing. So far this season, the Phillies losses have been embarrassing and they are not fun to watch.
The offense is filled with middle-aged journeymen who came here searching for one shot at a title. They were supposed to be role-players and fill-ins and now guys like Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre and Pete Orr have had to become valuable pieces to a mediocre (at best) team.
Jonathan Papelbon was paid big money to close out games, yet the team's bullpen is blowing games almost on a nightly basis - leaving us longing for the days of the 'Bridge to Lidge".
Fans are booing and fans are leaving, the sellout streak is in jeopardy, the question is are jobs in jeopardy too?
Maybe the team will respond or maybe they just don't have the talent, the 2009 Yankees missed the playoffs and then won the World Series in 2010.
"There's plenty enough talent to have it (success)," Rollins told the Daily News. "You have to have the desire to it."
Do they have the desire? One had to wonder if this group is out of fire. Guys like Rollins and Victrino have been constant forces on this team, but without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, these guys have to become leaders on the field with their play.
Sure Rollins is the face of the franchise, he has been here in good times and in bad, but he is not playing well and is not producing the way this team needs him to in the absence of their top offensive stars. Victorino looks like he is pressing - hitting just .244.
Even the popular Hunter Pence is starting to see what it's like for the team to play poorly in Philadelphia.
"I'd boo myself, too," Pence said to the Daily News.
People are booing and people are starting to wonder if a closed-door meeting is enough...time will tell.
Chase Utley has yet to participate in fielding practice since rejoining the Phillies last Saturday. Ryan Howard took batting practice Monday for the first time since February.
So maybe things are looking up, or maybe not.
Are Utley and Howard the saviors for a floundering bullpen and offense? Maybe, maybe not. The more concerning thing to me is the starting pitching.
While I am not suggesting that Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are terrible. Halladay and Lee are not longer throwing eight, nine innings every single night out, they simply can't - and this bullpen can't get them from the seventh inning to Papelbon in the ninth.
The team is flawed and maybe this just isn't there year, a lot hinges on the return of Howard and Utley, by then it could be to late, just like this closed-door meeting which should have been held in the off-season when the cracks in the armor were becoming apparent.