After watching Jeff Manship pitch well again on Sunday, Ryne Sandberg used the team “lights out” to describe his latest performance.
In a spring where the Philadelphia Phillies have won just twice, a manager getting excited over a pitcher who is 3-7 over a five-year career in the major leagues with a 6.42 ERA illustrates just how sorry the team’s current pitching state is right now.
Not only is Cole Hamels definitely out for the first month of the season with a tired arm, the only definite about the five-man rotation is that Cliff Lee is No. 1 and A.J. Burnett is No. 2. Everybody else is lining up for No. 3. Kyle Kendrick might be that guy by default, but he has not looked particularly good this spring.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez simply is not ready for major league baseball, and he will probably be spending a good portion of the season trying to prove he’s ready for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Jonathan Pettibone, like Hamels, is battling an arm injury.
To get excited over what Manship has done is really grasping for straws, but straws are all the Phillies have right now. The 29-year-old went three innings in his first start of the spring, allowing a run on two hits while walking one and striking out one. Good, but this is a guy who went 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA for the Colorado Rockies last season.
Lights out in Spring Training is one thing, but it’s hard to trust a guy who hasn’t been any good when the lights have been on for the past five years. The Phillies would be wise to contain their excitement for now.