The Phils earned a split with the Dodgers yesterday, thereby finally removing the goose egg from their win column. They did it in dramatic come-from-behind, walk-off-homer style.
However, that was in the first game of the doubleheader. They lost another series and saw their record fall to 1-5 in lackluster style in the second game.
They finished their first homestand of the season at 1-5 and now head into Atlanta with the enigmatic Brett Myers on the mound. It may sound overly melodramatic to say that their season is on the line, but it just might be.
The average outcome for a team that starts the season 1-5 is 74 wins, a .463 winning percentage, and a sixth-place finish in a 162-game schedule. That sounds pretty bad, but eight of those 189 clubs went to the postseason (about 4.2%), and four (or 2%) won the Series ('73 A's, 1911 A's, 1925 Pirates, and 1934 Cards). 63 of the clubs (one-third) finished with a .500 or better record.
The 1-6 starters, ended up on average 71-91, .443, though in fifth place. Five made the playoffs 3.8%, but just one (1911 A's) won the World Series. And just 33 (25%) finished over .500.
As the old adage goes, the games in April count, too, and it's apparent that if you dig too deep a hole early, you may as well just fall right in. The Phils, if they know it or not, are staring down that precipice now.
It's time to make a change. Charlie "I Need A" Manuel's lineup was dysfunctional to begin withRowand and his 2005 .329 OPS batting second? Utley cleanup? Now, it's indefensible. Why they would want to heap pressure on a player switching leagues (Rowand) is beyond me. They should go back to Rollins and Utley at the top of the order, and Howard batting cleanup. Rowand should bat in fellow center fielder Garry Maddox's six hole. It's also clear that David Bell should not be allowed to submarine their offense. They should have eaten his contract and kept Tomas Perez.
Anyway, the Phils face their first divisional test, and if they come up short again, they might just have buried their season.