On Doc Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, Injuries, and the Phillies

Are you honestly shocked?

Let me preface all of this: Howard and Utley haven't played an inning, Worley, Lee, and Halladay have done DL stints, Thome and Nix are watching baseball and not playing it, Rollins and Qualls have stunk, Victorino and Pence have had their negatives, Joe Blanton is slumping, and they've used about 15 relievers (figuratively, I think?). The Phillies are three games out of first coming home for the weekend. Sure, not on June 1st should you jump to conclusions, but this team is nothing if not resilient.

With that in mind, I want to touch on a couple of thoughts of mine right now about this team.

  • Roy Halladay- Well, now Rich Dubee says he's not shocked. Real surprising from this organization, right? It was obvious in hindsight. Halladay's velocity was down in spring training, then it came up in the season, but his command went to hell a few times (Atlanta, the Nationals game, and this last start jump out). He was compensating on his velocity and giving up some command. I know he's 35, but it was obvious that this wasn't just drop-off from aging. I'm glad he is getting a second opinion, and hopefully this team can stay afloat for six to eight more weeks. I also hope they let him heal as much as possible. With that said, I'm concerned. I'm not concerned about Worley replacing the version of Halladay that we had this year. I'm concerned about Worley off an injury replacing a lesser Doc, and this team relying on Kendrick and Blanton. With that said, if this team can stay close until he's back, I think the division is well within reach.
  • Roy Oswalt- Yes, I know, "why didn't we sign him?" Because he got $5-6 million guaranteed. He's not worth that to us, at the luxury tax, a little over .500. Texas can take that risk in their position. I don't think it makes them any more of a favorite than they were, but good move. I'm glad we passed, ultimately. I'd have been ok with signing him though too.
  • Ryan Howard- He's out for June now it sounds like. Ruben says don't expect him. Honestly, having not started or even announced a rehab assignment yet, this isn't shocking, though I did expect him back in June. 
  • Utley and other injuries- Obviously Utley won't be back soon, Mini-Mart isn't doing anything yet, Nix says he'll be a while, and not much else is on the verge. I think it's fair to guess that Vance Worley is back soon, and Jim Thome is probably next after him. Honestly, I'm mostly concerned that Nix and Thome are around for the stretch run, and I'm concerned primarily with Utley and Worley. Chase is well behind last year, and that is cause for concern. I'd expect him later in June at best, and even then, is last year's Chase better than Galvis now? Ponder that for a second. Vance Worley is totally necessary though. If this team can survive June and no Halladay, Howard, or Utley, Worley has to step up next to Lee and Hamels. I have high hopes.
So, the team. They're 27-25, fifth in the NL East, and three games back. If a month from now, these conditions are unchanged (above .500 and within five), I have no doubt this team will be healthier, and will win the division. The road to get there isn't easy though. The next month looks like this:
  • Three with Miami (second place)
  • Four with Los Angeles (best record in the NL)
  • Three @ Baltimore (leading the AL East)
  • Three @ Minnesota (so far, awful)
  • Three @ Toronto (half game better than us)
  • Three with Colorado (They're really bad so far)
  • Three with Tampa (Also leading the AL East)
  • Four with the Pirates (the pain in our @$$ is three out in the central)
  • Finish up @Miami
In other words, this is a tough month of baseball. IF this team is still where it is in a month, it seems more likely that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will be close to back, Doc could be close behind, Jim Thome might be back, and Laynce Nix could be on his way. 
The thing is, this month could be really bad for us. I think this is the month that can go either way. The Phillies need to step up, and keep up the positive momentum from this road trip. It is really important, mentally to say that this team just beat the Cardinals and Mets five out of seven games. These are teams that get us going. These are good wins. Now keep it up, beat Ozzie Guillen's bunch up, and keep with the logjam in this division, or pass them.