The Untouchables was a 1959-63 television show, later a 1987 movie, featuring Eliot Ness as the leader of a small hand-picked group of honest crime-fighting Federal agents who could not be bribed.
Starting today, a day off for the Philadelphia Phillies, you could describe Phils’ general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. as Ness’ polar opposite.
No Phillie should be an Untouchable after dropping two of three to the New York Mets over the weekend and Amaro can probably be bribed if it means a smaller payroll and a better long-term future for the organization.
The Phillies have been a two-steps forward, one-step back, team all season. After losing three of four games to a team with a worse record, the Dodgers, they took three steps forward by winning series against the Pirates, Braves and Nationals.
Now the Phillies have taken another step back. Although the Mets are improved, winning 19 of their past 31 games, the Phillies had the rotation set up to win at least two of three with one pitcher making $20.5 million this year, Cole Hamels, going on Saturday and one $25 million pitcher, Cliff Lee, going on Sunday. After Kyle Kendrick won the opening game against the Mets on Friday, a true contender gets at least a split in the final two games. The Phillies are not true contenders.
Lee came up small and Hamels came up smaller. The series wins over the Pirates, Braves and Nationals served as only teases considering that they were sandwiched around series losses to the Dodgers and Mets. The Phillies are kidding themselves if they think a pattern established over the first 99 games is going to change over the final 63.
That leaves Amaro with only one option today and that is to turn his cell phone into a sell phone.