"Nobody wants to go home right now," free agent-to-be center fielder Aaron Rowand said. "We ran into a team that was extremely hot. We didn't hold up our end of it. We didn't hit."
In the knockout game, the Phils were held to three hits by hard-throwing Rockies rookie right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. Shane Victorino's game-tying solo homer in the seventh inning was their only big hit as the Phillies dropped their third straight game for the first time since September third.
The Phillies' offense failure was profound. Utley went 2-for-11 (.182) with five strikeouts. Ryan Howard went 3-for-12 (.250) with seven strikeouts. Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-11 (.182). Rowand went 1-for-12 (.083).
"We were chasing balls out of the strike zone, and we were getting overanxious," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's the sign of a time that's ... I wouldn't call it pressing, I would say we were anxious, like we wanted it too bad or tried too hard or whatever."
So, which of the 2007 Phillies are likely to be back and who are the ones likely to exit?
Free Agents: Antonio Alfonseca, Freddy Garcia, Tadahito Iguchi, Jon Lieber, Kyle Lohse, Jose Mesa, J.C. Romero, Aaron Rowand.
Alfonseca, Garcia, Lieber and Mesa are goners. The Phillies would be interested in re-signing Iguchi, Lohse and Romero unless they out-price themselves. Iguchi and Werth could also look to find starting jobs elsewhere. Rowand is the big question mark, but with Ryan Howard eligible for free agency and liable to get a big chunk of change either through an arbitrator or a long-term deal with the Phillies, there may not be enough money to keep Rowand.
Arbitration Eligible: Geoff Geary, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson and Jayson Werth.
Howard is going to get big bucks. Madson's late season injury could hurt him, but he won't be needing to borrow money from anyone. Geary will likely avoid arbitration and take what the Phillies offer him.
Options: Rod Barajas ($5 million or $0.5 million buyout), Julio Mateo ($1.5 million or $0.1 million buyout), Abraham Nunez ($2 million or $0.355 million buyout).
Barajas isn't going to get $5 million from the Phillies and Mateo isn't going to get $1.5 million, although he may need it to pay his lawyers to defend him from domestic abuse charges that he's facing. Nunez is up in the air; the Phillies need an upgrade at third base, but Nunez is a nice option to bring off the bench.
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