The Philadelphia Phillies entered a Sunday matinee against the Atlanta Braves sporting the second-lowest win total (6) in baseball. Their .333 winning percentage (.333) isn’t wholly unexpected at this early-season point, as the organizational rebuilding period has just begun. Thus, the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday party on April 26, initially took precedence over his unheralded team.
The green Galapagos Island native hasn’t had much to cheer during the occasion of his thirty-seventh year. General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is working in the last year of his contract. Anticipated changes in the president’s office, per Pat Gillick’s previously stated intentions, likely mean a new man will front the Phillies’ efforts when fall arrives.
It’s challenging to accurately assess Ryne Sandberg’s work to-date. Some could effectively argue that the lack of fundamentals demonstrated by those who populate the 25-man roster is connected to questionable farm system oversight and past poor transactions.
Who held the organization’s top minor league managerial spot prior to his Philadelphia promotion? Yes, that was ‘Ryno’.
One person, especially a humble Hall of Famer who only spent two seasons down below before joining Charlie Manuel’s coaching staff in October 2012, can’t be properly tagged as the lead cause of current on-field crimes. An organizational approach that appears to have promoted more than a few players past their level of achievement has been allowed to persist for varied reasons.
A dearth of major league-worthy talent is connected to scouting choices. Coaching efforts can be questioned at each level within the system. The major league manager and his staff attempt to get the most from what they’ve been given, establish a tone and balance personalities throughout a long season. And, of course, the GM and his desk team do what ownership permits.
Regarding the game itself: Philadelphia managed to take the three-game series with a 5-4 win. Jerome Williams (2-1) threw 6.67 innings, yielding three (earned) of the four Braves’ runs. While Jonathan Papelbon allowed a home run in the bottom of the ninth, he recorded three outs to earn his fourth save.
Ryan Howard drove a three-run home run to right field in the bottom of the first inning, which allowed the Phillies to take a 3-2 lead. Philadelphia’s second-greatest all-time slugger spoke after the game about his team’s response to the Braves’s leadoff frame, “Things haven’t gone necessarily the way we wanted them to go and it could have gone bad. But, to be able to answer right back was good.”
Freddy Galvis went 3-3, which raised his average to .361, and scored two runs. Jimmy Rollins’ replacement advised that his hot offensive start to the season hasn’t been surprising.
“The coaches told me this year, as soon as I got to spring training, that we are going to try and stay on the ground, hit line drives and I really like it.”
“My approach was good. I don’t feel pressure to play. I go out every day and play hard,” Galvis said.
The Phanatic is working through his middle-age years, which surely means that ever-optimistic creature has developed a long-term perspective. The 2015 season may prove to be a long one. But, until a number of off-field issues have been settled, it’s likely that the Phillies’ mature mascot will continue to push for better days.