1-Fielding- Has always been a staple of good philadelphia teams. Jimmy Rollins, an improving Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, and a solid combination of Placido Polanco, Abraham Nunez and Pedro Feliz always made the team a defensive monster, even if they were pretty much solely relying on Cole Hamels and possibly Brett Myers to win games before Lee and Halladay came to town. Ty Wigginton should have made that play, but it's Ty Wigginton playing third base, what can we really expect. Should a 1-0 ten inning lost be pinned on a defensive blunder in extra innings? No, I just don't think this would have happened in the recent past.
2-Managing-Has Antonio Bastardo had any positive outings this year? Yes, 1, but he has blown a save and of the 11 batters he has faced, 5 have reached base. I'm not that good at math, but that's a rather high on base percentage. After a 10-inning shutout gem by the ever-so-gritty Cliff Lee, I could think of a few other options to support the starting performance. Bastardo isn't one of them. That decision lies on Charlie. Cain was out, and four relievers already in the game, the Giants would have been hard fought to continue another inning or two with relievers. Bringing in Bastardo is a very high risk situation.
3-Heart- Lee showed it, but a 4-hit performance in 10 innings didn't. A late game error, two on the game, and an 0-for-12 one through three hitters pits the difference between this team and the passion filled ball clubs of the past few years. I still wonder how Jim Thome gets at bats. I still wonder why John Mayberry doesn't get more, and although Laynce Nix has had two somewhat big hits this year, I still don't understand why he's not playing on a beer league softball team instead.
Remember it as you may, but the gritty days of having a Nunez, or an Eric Bruntlett, Matt Stairs, or even a Ross Gload come off the bench with a good solid swing are long past. Instead, the bench is filled with has-beens and effortless strikeout potential. The days of Madsen and Durbin coming in for a probably solid late game effort are gone to the ways of Bastardo???
Yes, the Phils have a chance at the division. A good chance. But they aren't the same. Let's see what the brass does as the season goes on in dealing with the bench and the pen. And Charlie-keep Bastardo out of meaningful games. Please. For our starting pitchers sake.