So Much For That Fast Start Theory

There is plenty of blame to go around for the Phillies. The fact is that just four-percent of the season has been played and keep in mind that the last three World Series Champions all got off to similar starts in their championship season. With that in mind, things still aren't what the Phillies hoped they would be at this point of the season.

So, after the first week of regular season games, the Phillies sit at 1-6, in the basement of the NL East.


With the talent on this team, the revamped bullpen, one of the best starting rotations in baseball, and an offense that could outslug the rest of them, what happened? Well, they were paper champions. They were every prognosticator's little darlings and unfortunately, teams like that usually fall flat on their face. See the Mets and Orioles of the mid to late 1990's. Everyone talked about the Mets aquired Mo Vaguhn and Jeremy Burnitz and how they were going to be the team to beat. The only thing they ever won was the race with the Expos for the NL East basement. Peter Angelos and the Orioles went out and opened up the checkbook to try and sign big name free agents so they could win now and the Orioles have mired in the AL East's doldrums for the last decade.

Where does that leave the 2004 Phillies?

It's still early so this team does have a chance to turn it around and avoid the fate of other so called paper champions, but there is one thing that deeply distrubs me about this team. I saw a quote in the Daily News earlier this week from Kevin Millwood to the effect that "we'll be OK. It's still early." This gave me the impression that this team is accepting losing and playoff teams don't do that.

What do the Phillies need to do to turn it around? That's pretty simple.

They need to get the timely hit. 52 runners left on base in the first several games is simply not a recipe for winning. The supposedly improved bullpen needs to actually do what it was brought in to do. The bullpen needs to step up it up and follow the starters lead in keeping team's down. They also need to keep Larry Bowa around as manager. His fiery passion and knowledge of the game make him a winner. He won't tolerate the lax attitudes of today's players and will give all his players a firm kick in the backside when they need it. Larry Bowa is a winner, unlike the manager that Boston hired this offseason.

Don't jump off the bandwagon just yet Phillies fans, it's a long season and this team, although down, is far from being out of it. The players and certainly the manager know that 162 games is a long time and seven games does not a season make.

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