All anyone has to do to take the pulse of the Philadelphia Phillies is watch the postgame show that follows every game.
The comments are pretty much the same after every game, now six straight losses. People in the electronic side of the sports journalism industry call it sound. “We just have to play better baseball” or “that’s why they play 162 games” or “there’s always tomorrow.”
Never do you see what should happen—a buffet table overturning in the background or a veteran yelling out “I’m sick of this stuff” (substituting of stronger word for stuff). The worst thing about the losing is that the complacency has appeared to have set in for the Phillies, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
What’s worse, losing, or accepting the losses? For the Philadelphia fan, that’s a no-brainer. Nobody calls this team the “Fightin Phils” anymore.
The Phillies head to Cincinnati tonight to open a three-game weekend series at Great American Ball Park with a 24-34 record. The Reds are 27-31, but not a single Phillies fan anticipates that the Reds are going to be any easier for the Phillies than any other team on the schedule.
Quite the contrary as the Reds probably see the Phils as just what the doctor ordered. The Phillies now have the worst run differential in baseball at minus-54. Only two teams in the majors have worse records than the Phils: the Rays (23-38) and Cubs (23-34).
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins said the Phils’ skid is “getting out of control now.” That’s the closest thing that someone has said to “I’m mad and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Maybe the Phils will win tonight, when Cole Hamels takes an 8-0 record against the Reds into his start, but one win every seven games just won’t cut it for the Phillies or any other team.
Complacency has set in for the Phillies with good reason, as the veterans are smart enough to know they are not good enough anymore. They say it every night on television even though they don’t know that those words are coming out of their mouths.