Before the Philadelphia Phillies started their current homestand, hope was still alive among the Phillies’ faithful. The team had just gone 5-2 in a seven-game road trip and it seemed as if everything was coming together. The bullpen was solid, the hitting had returned and the Phillies looked as if a much-needed sense of urgency had finally surfaced.
Now? It’s time to hang the “For Sale” sign on the clubhouse door and get ready to say goodbye to this edition of the Phillies.
As of Saturday, the Phillies have gone a terrible 2-5 on this crucial homestand. And they haven’t just lost these games, they’ve been humiliated and embarrassed by the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves, two NL East division rivals. They could only manage two wins against the Marlins and have been outscored by the Braves 19-6 in three games and are one loss away from being swept in their own ballpark. The series has seen Ryan Howard commit two errors in the same inning, Domonic Brown be booed by the fans after blowing a routine catch in the outfield and Antonio Bastardo, who had been rock solid up until this point, fall apart and allow five runs.
To add insult to injury, all this is happening in front of the hometown fans — not that it’s anything new. The Phillies are a sad 18-26 at Citizens Bank Park this season and are averaging a meager 3.5 runs a game when they play at home. There is no way you are going to win consistently in your own house with numbers like that.
The way the Phillies have been playing on this homestand, it seems like that hot streak manager Ryne Sandberg kept talking about may have come and gone; and with it went the Phillies’ chances of salvaging the 2014 season. The team in on pace to lose 90 games this year, the first time the franchise has posted that number since 2000.
I think it’s safe to assume that this golden era of Phillies baseball has come to an end and that it’s time to start thinking about rebuilding for the future. The upside to all this? It will give management and the fans more than enough time to try to figure out who should stay and who should go as we close in on the trade deadline at the end of July.