by Adam Serfass

We are well into the 2011 baseball season and the Phillies are in first place. They have been for some time.  Yet, I still get people coming in to the Cheese Shop who keep asking,  “What we are going to do about the Phillies?”

Everybody’s got an issue.

The bullpen needs help.

Why is it taking so long for Blanton to come back?

What do we do about Francisco?

Are we pushing Worley too hard?

What is wrong with the defense?

Why can’t this team hit?

My standard answer is always the same: The Phightin’ Phils are just getting warmed up!

Lately, the bullpen is coming around. I had my worries in the beginning of the season, but now I see it all coming around.

We’ll be fine.

Blanton will come back in due time. His last game was a loss on May 14.  He had only given up five hits after five innings before coming out that day.

So, please don’t tell me that Blanton is done.  He may not be an ace, but he’ll be back and be good enough.

As for our right fielder, he is doing quite well folks.

While Francisco is currently batting .225, this doesn’t really do him justice in a season dominated by pitching.  His on-base percentage is .342 and his on-base plus slugging is a whopping .700!

He’s getting the job done.  True, his RBIs are lacking, but this will change.

Just wait.  You’ll see.

Worley didn’t get the decision his last game.  True, he only pitched six innings, but he gave up only one hit and no runs. His worst game this season was against the Mets, of all teams, when he gave up 12 hits with only one strikeout.

But he’s young with lots of upside. And he should be with us for a while. Be patient with him.

The defense?

The players that replaced our regular starters have done a great job. Again, we are in first place.  Nothing is wrong with them, so let’s move on.

As for the offense, I have no answer.  I struggle with this one.

The Phillies have lost only a handful of games in which I think the whole team played well. Too many losses were strictly due to the offense not showing up and providing support for the pitchers.

The only thing I can say about the offense is it has to get better.

Take a look at what the lineup has done since Utley returned.  Things are starting to gel.

That’s the one thing the team, or any team really, has to do: go above and beyond the injuries that plague the MLB and win.

That’s what champions are made of.

That’s what the Phillies are made of: championship caliber.

That’s what first place teams do: adjust throughout the season to be ready for the 17 months that play out during the postseason.

Yeah, I said 17 months.

I think the postseason is way too long.

But, that’s for another article.


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