Sadness, anger, fear, shock, disappointment, ect. Those emotions are probably what all Phillies fans felt last night as our Phils were shutout by the St.Louis Cardinals 1-0. What plagued this team last year against the San Francisco Giants was the play of the offense, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, for the most part, were the only ones who showed up on offense in this series. Howard, Victorino, Polanco, Ruiz, and Pence all struggled, especially Howard, but we'll get back to that later. Another thing, Cliff Lee, don't even try to tell me that if Cliff hangs on to that 4-0 lead and we win game 2, it doesn't have an impact on the series, we win that game, we're up 2-0 going into St.Louis. The bullpen wasn't that sharp either during the series.
After a 102 win season, this is unacceptable, the Phillies should have won this series in a heartbeat, instead we're talking about what the Phils are gonna do this offseason. The Phils have a lot of moves to make, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson are free agents, and Cole Hamels and Hunter Pence are up for arbitration. Basically, we gotta bring back Mad Dog, you need your closer and he proved he's capable of being that this year. As for J-Roll, it all depends on how much he wants, they can't overpay him with Jimmy being in the upper 30's. Hamels and Pence will easily both get pay raises, they're both deserving. Roy Oswalt's scheduled to make $16 million this year, the Phils can't afford to keep him for that much money, especially when it's obvious that his career his windling down.
One area of this team that doesn't need much work is obviously, the starting pitching. Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Worley are a great 4 starters. If they can work Oswalt's contract out again for less money it'd help, although personally, I'd rather they just go after someone much cheaper and try and trade or buy out Oswalt's contract.
Now onto what happened after last night's game, Ryan Howard, like last year, was the last out of the Phillies' season. Except this year, as Ricky Bottalico said, injury was added to insult. Howard has been battling an ankle/foot problem since last year really and it started to get worse as this season went on. Howard got a cortisone shot before the final few games of the season, and in game 1 we all thought that Ryan was back and ready to go. After a hit in the first inning of game 2, Howard would go 0-15 the rest of the series. In the last play, Howard grounded out to 2nd, but what was shown after the swing sent a fear into Phils fans. Howard was down, grabbing his leg, unable to stand. Now Ryan's a tough guy, he's played through injury a lot lately, we all knew something was up. The fear amongst everybody is that he blew out his achilles, which means he won't play next year, ALL of next year. The Phils 2012 season will be in major jeopardy if Howard can't play. He's the anchor of that offense, we need him. Ryan still needs to have the MRI, but it didn't look good, at all.
This season was not a great one, I don't care what anybody says. they choked, this season should've ended with a parade down Broad Street, they were the best team on paper. I hate to say it, but in my eyes, this was the last year for this core group of Phillies to win a World Series. If Howard's not back next year, I can't see this team winning the division even. Revaluations will come in February, but right now this is a sad time for Phillies fans, but we gotta remain loyal, support our Phightin Phils no matter how hard it gets, so as always LET'S GO PHILLIES!