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Phillies: 54-Game 2022

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While numerous Philadelphia Phillies fans have given up or may consider it, Dave Dombrowski, PBO (president of baseball operations), changed the dugout leadership for many reasons, not one alone. A needed wrinkle!                     

 

Law of Averages:

The Phillies are exactly at the one-third mark for ‘22, but some are already looking ahead to football. To many, the team is beyond fixing, and they expect the double-digit games-behind number to increase. Granted, expectations played an outsized role without blame.        

Put Another Way:

“I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win.” - Arnold Palmer

Some locals “checked out” regarding 2022 in mid-May but could return if the franchise is within shouting distance of first place in the National League East. Therefore, they don’t anticipate returning until spring training even if the club gets to within four games of the New York Mets and is in the wild-card hunt.     

To reiterate, expectations were sky-high, which goes perfectly with casting blame. Honestly, Joe Girardi took the heat for a team-wide effort, and every man in the clubhouse knows it. But there were other reasons for Dombrowski’s so-called Hail Mary.        

Even if you believe Philly has no patience, you can’t claim that honor. No, it’s like that in New York City and Boston too. In fact, New Yorkers may have more of a right for this distinction and finger-pointing blame –but not by much! Yeah, our closest northern neighbor is famous for the Bronx Cheer.       

A secondary reason is attendance and television ratings because revenue pays for the on-field product. Basically, the organization has competition from the shore and other entertainment venues. And only the most dedicated baseball fanatic is going to endure the heat and cost for a losing club. 

The Phillies:

With a solid starter every contest and an offensive nightmare for opposing hurlers, the defense only has to make the regular plays even with Bryce Harper healing. But he'll be fresh down the stretch and into the playoffs. Yeah, the third wild card doesn’t involve playing .600 ball either.   

The Fightins have four solid back-end arms: Corey Knebel, Seranthony Dominguez, Brad Hand and Connor Brogdon. And since they have no spot for a regular or a starter, they’ll want to strengthen the bullpen with a reliever or two. Perhaps, a right-side bench bat/outfielder would be worthwhile.                

Because the red pinstripes don’t have anyone better than Bailey Falter, don’t expect a quick hook from the rotation for Ranger Suarez. Translation: He’s the only left-hander, and he earned this opportunity. Plus right-handers Mike Abel, 20, and Andrew Painter, 19, in Single-A Advanced aren’t close to MLB ready.                            

Offensively, the Fightins have firepower aplenty ready to explode, but it doesn't exclude them from slumps: No, those players are top-one-percent rare, and they don’t guess: They anticipate. April and May, however, are not good teammates for sluggers. 

Other Factors:

For ‘22, Major League Baseball introduced humidors in all stadiums, not Arizona and Colorado alone. Unsurprisingly, home runs are down except for total animals with a bat. But June through August trumps those moisture-added baseballs, aka hittin’ season.   

And even though the execs expected an offensive increase, they sent a message of urgency with Girardi’s firing. Basically, we are not happy with your performance and demand immediate change. Now! And batting averages, homers and RBIs with few exceptions didn’t offer a strong argument.                   

With two months to prove they are worth additional spending of up to $15 million for ‘22, the stars must show they can triumph consistently by winning their upcoming sets against easier opponents. Today, most big market franchises only exceed the first CBT (competitive-balance threshold) for consecutive summers max.                   

Dombrowski mentioned the schedule during interim manager Rob Thomson’s introduction, indicating its part in his decision-making. Basically, he didn’t want them sleepwalking through a softer part of the 162. He wants them to go on a winning streak heading into July.     

Phillies Schedule from June 5 through June 30:

TEAM

#

@

TEAM

#

@

Arizona Diamondbacks

3

H

Milwaukee Brewers

3

A

Miami Marlins

3

H

San Diego Padres

4

A

Washington Nationals

5

A

Atlanta Braves

3

H

Texas Rangers

2

A

     

TOTAL

13

 

TOTAL

10

 

On the road, the Mets have three games each versus the Padres and Los Angeles Angels, who will first want to bounce back at home against the Boston Red Sox. And, then, the Mets return home for three versus the Brewers but also have four games against the Houston Astros by June’s end. So, the Phils could get to seven out.                 

The law of averages indicates the Phillies underperformed, and the Metropolitans are exceeding expectations. Ergo, there may be less space between them on July 1, than there is currently. And picking up four games isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.    

Many faithful supporters aren’t keenly aware of roster slots: It was going to be 13 pitchers and 13 hitters. However, the delayed campaign has led to some changes: 14 hurlers now until June 19. And it means a three-man bench, including a backup catcher, plus the red pinstripes are giving a couple rookies a shot.              

While youngsters bring energy, victories lead to being loose and confident. So, who or what is pounding on the clubhouse door for interim manager Thomson?  Opportunity!

 

NEXT:

Baseball Men Like 2022’s Rotation

PHANATIC    2

 

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