Phillies Now Lacking Confidence It Takes to Win?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, June 16, 2010

God doesn't appear interested in helping out, Placido.

Suffice it to say this little slump the Phillies are in is the worst we've seen in a long time, and it has officially become incredibly worrisome. It's not even so much that they're losing games, but more how they're losing these games.

At least in prior years when the Phils would hit their annual slump, it appeared to simply be an issue with their mechanics, or overcoming the injury bug, or just an old-fashioned slump that every baseball player inevitably goes through.

However, it never appeared to be a lack of confidence. They stood tall at the plate or the mound, were selective in the pitches they offered at, and were usually in the game come the seventh or eighth inning.

But this time around, confidence seems to be the key issue. Or more to the point, the lack thereof.

The posture at the plate isn't very good. And I don't mean they're slouched or that there's necessarily something wrong with the mechanics of the stance, but they're not taking over the plate the way they used to.

It used to be that anyone in this lineup could just walk up to the plate and strike fear in the opposing pitcher because of the way they just seemed to overtake the batter's box. There was a confidence that everyone in the stadium or watching from their couches could see.

But now they seem fidgety and unsure of themselves. They're offering at ridiculous pitches a 10-year old would laugh at.

Then, once they offer at them, they're not keeping their head down on the ball. It's the first thing you're taught since T-ball, but these professionals can't seem to swing the bat without winding up with their head in left field.

And once the deficit gets big enough, they all start hacking for home runs. They start pressing and suddenly guys like Juan Castro, Wilson Valdez, and Carlos Ruiz are swinging like they're Babe Ruth or Mark McGwire.

What the Phillies need now is a cupcake pitcher they can smack around a little bit. Perhaps if they can put 10-15 runs on someone they'll start believing in themselves again and won't act like the only girl on the 12-year old team every time they're at the plate.

And on top of all the woes they're having at the plate, it looks like the starting pitchers are finally taking their turn at imploding. Even Roy Halladay was unable to avoid being victimized by the long-ball Joe Blaton style as it appears Cole Hamels is the only guy left they can rely upon.

But if we can put the doomsday thoughts aside, it is still fairly early in the season. The Phillies usually don't get hot until after the All-Star break anyway, so perhaps we're all hopping onto the ledge a bit too quickly.

They're not too far out in the NL East and, if they can get hot in the latter portion of the season the rest of the teams in the East are usually good for a late-season slide. Then once they're in the playoffs it's a whole new season.

Here's to hoping, I guess.

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