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The Phillies Slump: What Can Be Done?

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The sky at Citizen's Bank Park

In their last nine games, the Phillies have scored 10 runs. Since May 17th, there hasn’t been a game with more than 5 runs. Even in the perfect game pitched by Roy Halladay, the offense could only give Halladay one insurance run for his amazing effort. What is the cause of this? How can it be stopped? Is there a way? Why does the supposed best offense in baseball keep grounding out, striking out, and flying out?

During Monday’s game, Charlie Manuel switched out right-handed batters for left-handed batters, hoping for a pick up in the offense. (That is, before he got ejected from the game.) The bats stayed silent except for four back-to-back doubles, producing 3 runs. But the game couldn’t be won with only 3 runs, especially since the Braves have been on such a hot streak. And with the loss on Monday, the Phils went from their solid first place to second place in their division. And the hearts of the Phillie faithful broke.

So, what’s the solution? Is there a magic way to get the team energized and producing? The answer: no, not really. The team really needs some time. That’s it: time. Every year, the fans and sportcasters get upset when the Phils lose more than 3 games in a row. They start questioning the team’s talent and analyzing what needs to be done in order to get out of the slump. Granted, this has been a particually bad losing streak, but still, there are 162 games in a season. There are many more games to get back in the groove. Remember Ryan Howard? There’s a reason he is called Mr. September and not Mr. May. And Chase Utley? He’s plain Mr. Baseball; if anyone will break the streak he will. There’s no way this team with this much talent will continue to freeze up at the plate.

Plus, in 2008, the year the Phils won the World Series, they didn’t hold first place for most of the summer. Philadelphia is a city of sports underdogs; that’s just the way it is. Just ask the Flyers. Heck, just ask Rocky.