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Is Philly getting nervous?

Sep 29, 2009, 10:52 AM EDT

I was just sort of joking in the recaps this morning when I mused that the Braves could potentially overtake the Phillies for the division, but apparently some people in Philadelphia are a little uneasy. Maybe the Braves fan in me is reading too much into it, but is Charlie Manuel making excuses already?

“The schedule has been perfect for them. That’s definitely not an excuse, because I feel we have the best team in our league,” Manuel said. “But the schedule’s been good for them. [Bobby] Cox might have made that schedule up. He announced his retirement and they let him go ahead and make the schedule.”

Blaming the schedule. The last refuge of a scoundrel. And maybe a choker. But here’s a couple of things about the schedule: (1) Philly and Atlanta play in the same division, so they have basically the same schedule; (2) the only difference in interleague schedules is that rather than play the Rays like the Phillies did, the Braves were stuck with three extra games against Boston; and (3) if you really wanted to make this last week meaningless, Charlie, you should have done better than 8-10 head-to-head against Atlanta.

The upshot: If Philly somehow loses this thing — and the odds are still really stacked in the Phillies favor, I don’t deny it — they only have themselves to blame. 

In the meantime, here is some reading material to tide you over until tonight’s game.

  1. Steve Kusheloff - Sep 29, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    The Phillies’ collapse is as good as done, and not all the fault is Brad Lidge’s, although he’s clearly the biggest culprit. How many times did the Phils’ bats go ice cold this season? How many times did they fail to score a runner from third with less than two outs? They came into the season thinking they had the NL East all but won, slept-walk through the season ’cause they were never really challenged, and now they can’t win when they absolutely must.

  2. Bill - Sep 29, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    They will win the division by Thursday, the Phillies problems really start then. Unless they score 8 runs a game they can not win the NL pennant (unless Lidge delivers a miracle).

  3. Aarcraft - Sep 29, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    You can’t blame the schedule on the same night you lose to the Astros. It doesn’t work like that.

  4. Keith - Sep 29, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    “How many times did the Phils’ bats go ice cold this season?”
    Despite ‘many times’ of ‘ice cold’ bats, the Phillies have somehow managed to lead the league in runs scored, currently by 17 runs over the Rockies.
    “How many times did they fail to score a runner from third with less than two outs?”
    To answer the other way, the Phillies have scored the runner from 3rd with less 2 outs 48% of the time. The league average is 50%. The Astros have scored that runner 53% of the time. They have scored 1 run per game less than Phillies this season. There is not much team-to-team variation in this statistic and it doesn’t seem to be indicative of a team’s run scoring ability (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2009-situational-batting.shtml).
    Finally, I know we don’t generally like to credit Charlie Manuel with much, but could it not be that he was joking? The last remark of his quote suggests he might have been.

  5. BigPhilsFan - Sep 29, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    Wow, could Atlanta fans be anymore bitter? Way to read into a harmless joke made by Manuel and try to make bulletin board material out of it. The phils are gonna win the east, then the NL and then they’re gonna beat NY and get their back-to-back titles…. even without a closer.

  6. Shely - Sep 29, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    Oh Oh, I see the ghost of Mad Man Mauch lurking in the locker room. Could be 1964 all over again. Just like Yogi said it is D-J-V all over again. Sorry to see the Phillthy’s go this way. Hey, it could happen. But probably they will sew it up by Thursday just like Bill said. Right? Keep your fingers crossed fans.
    Shely

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