Some Optimism: It Could Be Worse!

The last week was arguably the toughest to swallow for both the Phillies organization and the fans, as Jonathan Papelbon failed to hold onto three different leads in the span of four appearances, the offense played hide-and-seek, and the starting pitching has been a far cry from the standards set in recent years. At 36-40 and 7.5 games out of first place with the trade deadline fast approaching, the Phillies are dangerously close to backing themselves into the sellers’ corner. The core of a team you grew to know and love over the years may be no more after July 31 as Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, and still others could be wearing different uniforms to finish out the 2013 season.

It’s disappointing to think about, which is why I’d like to bring you a small dose of optimism: it could be worse!

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The Phillies Bullpen: It Stinks

To paraphrase The Critic, the Phillies’ bullpen stinks. The hodgepodge of arms, thankfully sans Chad Durbin, has yielded baseball’s worst bullpen ERA at 4.67. Its collective xFIP isn’t much better at 4.34, good for second-worst in baseball behind the lowly Houston Astros. It was bad before Jonathan Papelbon — the only consistently-reliable arm in the stable — blew three four saves in four opportunities in the span of a week, and now it just feels awful. On Saturday, the Phillies turned a 7-1 lead into a 7-7 tie only to walk off on Kevin Frandsen‘s home run. Relief, in this case, is a misnomer.

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