I know. I know. This Phillies season has been difficult to watch. High hopes in the beginning of the year were quickly washed away, and the team has struggled mightily. As of September 12, The Phillies are 67-78, 15.0 games back of the Wild Card and really need to go on a crazy tear to even think of sniffing an over .500 record. So is there really any reason to keep watching them this season? Especially now since everyone in Philadelphia has "Chipadelphia" fever? Well, here are my 5 reasons you should still watch the Phillies:
Cody Asche has been playing very good, consistent baseball since he was called up to play 3B. Through 34 games, he is hitting .259 with 5 HR, 20 RBI, and 15 runs scored. He has also played a solid third base defensively. I think my favorite part is how much he reminds me of Chase Utley. Hopefully this trend continues as Asche continues to grow with the rest of the young players on the Phillies roster.
It's obvious that the core group of Phillies are getting old. Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, while still very productive, are a shell of their former selves. With this comes the influx of young talent we've seen this year. Eighteen of the current 40 man roster have been in AAA this year. Sandberg needs to use the last month of the season to really see what these guys can do. I will enjoy watching Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Asche, Jake Diekman, Cameron Rupp, Ethan Martin, and Darin Ruf play to earn spots on next year's roster. If these guys can get a lot of playing time together and start to gel, the Phillies could be back competing for the NL East crown sooner than we thought.
Hamels, Halladay, and Lee have all had different levels of success this year. Halladay struggled before going on the DL, and has recently come back to moderate success. Lee has been solid for the majority of the year, and threw a gem last night. And Hamels had some struggle early, but has really settled down since the All Star break, and has pitched well with limited run support. We know these three will be solid starters for the Phillies (hoping they're all back next year), but who will pick up the slack, and who could we rely on in the bullpen. Before Amaro goes out and signs any free agents in the offseason, now is a good time for pitching coach Rich Dubee and manager Ryne Sandberg to evaluate the young arms they brought up. Diekman has enjoyed success in a set-up type roll (I personally think he should be the closer), and Martin saw some success in his bullpen stint. The shaky bullpen will need to be solidified, and some of these young players need to prove themselves the remainder of this year.
As Sandberg tries to get a feel for how well the young guys can play, he needs to find out where he needs to put them to get the most out of the Phillies lineup. The lineup has been changing daily since he took over for Charlie Manuel. We've seen a number of guys in different positions? Who will play CF - Hernandez, Martinez, Bernadina, Mayberry? Who will play 1B - Ruf, Mayberry, Frandsen? If the phillies call up 3B Mike Franco, where will Sandberg put Asche? Who will bat cleanup? Leadoff? These answers change everyday, and it is sometimes a good change of pace to an offense that was hard to watch the majority of this year.
I hope everyone who watches the Phillies gets as many laughs out of these three as I do. A lot of times, you'll hear them talking about things completely unrelated to the current game, or even baseball. They're goofballs, and as much as I dislike how they broadcast the game, they are good for numerous laughs each game.
Quote of the Day:
"You don't get to the moon by climbing a tree."