Who’s to blame for Phillies’ disaster?

BY WAYNE CELLA, Feedcrossing.com syndication

Philadelphia Phillies Manger Charlie Manuel may be the reason why his team is in last place in the NL East. Photo by: WEBN-TV / Flickr

The answer to the headline: Philadelphia Phillies Manger Charlie Manuel

The first half is over. Thankfully. The Phillies have had their worst start since 1997 and nothing this season has really gone to plan. The questions of why have been asked now for 3 months. They’re only intensifying now, after a 9-25 performance in the last 34 games.

Who is to blame? Charlie Manuel? Ruben Amaro? Injuries? The players?

Frankly, I think there’s enough blame to go around. The fact that this team’s talent level is not good enough to win is a function of the person who put the roster together. In this case, it’s Ruben Amaro. By splurging on Jonathan Papelbon, Amaro left himself short of cash for the rest of his bullpen.

Having the best closer in baseball is only effective if you can get the ball into his hands on a regular basis. That hasn’t been the case thus far. Either the Phillies have been behind or too far ahead for Papelbon to see regular work. That has hurt in a couple of instances now, when he was in a save situation but wasn’t sharp.

Charlie Manuel finds himself on the hot seat for a team that has struggled. The fact is, Manuel would have loved to have had a healthy team from day 1. But he hasn’t. It’s hard to lay this all on Charlie, bad in game decisions not withstanding. Nothing has changed in Manuel’s performance. He is still doing the same things. Still making decisions that people question, only now they’re magnified because the team can’t win. In the past we laughed and said, “That’s just Cholly.” That was when we were winning 102 games. Now, people are calling for his head.

Ultimately, though, the blame here lies with the players. Not the Ty Wiggingtons and Mike Fontenots, but rather the Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pences and Shane Victorinos. The core of this team, the guys who were supposed to help out while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were getting nursed back to health have really failed this team. I’ve said it before, but this team really seems to lack any passion, determination and personality. There is no sense of urgency here.

Amaro may have assembled a bad team, and Charlie may be at a loss as to what to with it, but ultimately, the players have been the ones who have gone out, underperformed and played a very uninspired brand of baseball. You can still give a good effort when your team isn’t playing well or doesn’t have a lot of talent. We just haven’t seen that from this team.

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