Now that a few days have passed I’m ready to start dishing the blame. I’ll have to say that despite what everyone is saying about Ryan Howard I think that it is more of a collective issue. Let’s start at the top.
Charlie Manuel – Sorry Chuck, but I think a lot of this one is on you. I like that the players like to play for you, but this time things just went horribly wrong. After three games in a row where we couldn’t by a hit you leave the same lineup in? Polanco stays at third when he can’t even buy a hit? Did you even leave the dugout at all? Throw some things around and try to fire these guys up? I have always stuck by your side, but this time I honestly feel like you just stood by and watched. You’re the so called hitting guru, but you can’t seem to get these guys to hit. Maybe consider asking them to take a few pitches here and there. Crossing your fingers isn’t working. Next Spring better bring some answers because we’re all feeling pretty empty.
Cliff Lee – Cliff is honestly the player that I have the biggest issue with. Before his start last Sunday Cliff was 94-1 in games where he was handed a 4 run lead. That is huge, you have to hold that. For the average starter a 4 run lead is tough to hold, but for Cliff it is practically a mortal lock for a win.
Cliff was brought to Philadelphia to win in the Postseason, and that didn’t happen. So far he is 0-1 in his new tenure in Philadelphia. That can’t happen again. I’m glad that he took “Full responsibility,” but that does nothing for me as I sit here and watch the Cardinals lose to Milwaukee. Had he pitched like we expected him to do so we would have swept St. Louis right out of the playoffs.
“I take a lot of responsibility for this,” Lee said after the Game 5 loss. “I had a 4-0 lead and wasn’t able to keep it. If I did, we would have swept the series. I wasn’t able to keep a four-run lead and now it’s over.”
Cliff choked. No doubt about it.
Ryan Howard – I stand up for Ryno in many instances, but during a series is not time to mess with your mechanics. After game one I was expecting Ryan to just destroy the Cardinals, but he fell right into their trap. If they are going to throw you junk, then you need to just stand there and take that walks. That was something that I always admired about Pat Burrell.
I get that he was hurt, but he did himself, and the team zero favors by swinging at the crap they threw to him. I can’t even count at how many balls that were tight and inside that he swung at. You have to make them pitch to you. I have mixed feelings about him swinging at the 3-0 ball that he got towards the end of game 5. I know that people wished that green light had taken away from him at that point, but in a one run game one swing from Ryan can change the course of the game. It was a half decent pitch, so anything could have happened.
But Howard wasn’t the only one that didn’t hit.
Placido Polanco – Really when it comes to Polly the problem starts with Charlie Manual. I don’t get why we think that an injured Polanco is any better then Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez. Polly went 2-19 (.105) in the NLDS… You have to think that Valdez could have done better then that. Polly is the best defensive choice we have at third, but with his injuries, his bad speed is gone, and he can’t run worth a damn.
Hunter Pence – Hunter had 4 RBI, but still only hit .211 in the series. He’s a .300 hitter all season long, and went cold by his standards in the playoffs. Offensively he’s a fine player, but defensively he leaves much to be desired in the outfield. I hope that we can make some end-roads with him over the winter and into Spring Training next year. I love the hustle, but he came up short in the end.
Carlos Ruiz – Behind the plate Chooch is always an All-Star, but standing at it, he had a terrible series. 1-17 (.059) in the NLDS is just terrible. Carlos had a really tough October. He needs to keep the ball out of the air, and work on going the other way a little more. He pulls the ball far too much.
Roy Oswalt – Roy had pitched to the Cardinals hitters more then any other pitcher on the Phillies staff from his time in the National League Central, but didn’t look like it at all. He’s likely never to pitch another game for the Phillies again, but I expected much more from him than we got.
I’m wondering what everyone else is feeling. Shoot me an email, or comment below.
Be sure to check out my work over at PhilaPhans.com
If you don’t already follow me on Twitter! … Facebook.