By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
With the trade deadline a little over a week away and a three-game losing streak hanging over their heads, the Phillies got a little relief from what has been a difficult season.
Jimmy Rollins walkoff single in the 12th inning gave them a 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants to end a seven-game losing streak at Citizen’s Bank Park. The celebration of the Phillies latest win for fans and the players themselves is obviously tempered by the fact the team is 11 games below .500, they are still a long way out of the race for the second wildcard spot and will likely be sellers by next Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Somehow Jim Mora’s infamous, “Playoffs,”rant might be the appropriate theme for the Phillies playoff chances. (see video above)
Still, Rollins said he believes the team has plenty of fight to get back into the playoff race and turn things around, especially with the returns of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to the lineup as well as Roy Halladay and more recently Laynce Nix.
“It’s a not a feeling that you have, it’s a fact,” Rollins said. “Now will we do it? That’ a different story, but we have the horses now. We’re getting back to full strength. Ryan and Chase are going to get some at-bats under them. We got some left handed pop off the bench back with Laynce (Nix) who had a big hit that put me in the position that I was in and the pitchers have been doing a good job.
“If we score more runs and get a little more help in the bullpen, we’ll get a few more wins.”
It would also help that players like John Mayberry Jr. could become more consistent at the plate. In Sunday’s win over the Giants, Mayberry kept the Phillies by hitting a pair of home runs. It was just the second time in his career that he has hit more than homer in a game.
“At times when he’s hitting the ball good, he’s good,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “I always give you a chance to get going again. I always have.”
The much-maligned left-hander Antonio Bastardo actually had a solid outing Sunday by striking out the side in the top of the ninth. In that inning, he looked like the Bastardo of 2011 before September when he didn’t allow a team to score a run over a stretch of 17 innings.
Manuel said Bastardo lost his confidence last September because it was his first time going through a long season. It was also something he also said about the young relievers who pitched for the Atlanta Braves. He said young pitchers both relievers and starters tend to struggle, but eventually get their confidence back.
“Almost every starter and every pitcher in the bullpen goes through that and I think that he’s going to definitely get over that and I think he’s close to getting over that,” Manuel said. “He shows that he’s still got it, he still got the same stuff. Then he, at times, he doesn’t throw the ball hard as hard as he can. Last year, his confidence got up so big when he was pitching good and got on a roll that he didn’t mind showing me what he had. Now, he’s kinda feeling for it and I think that’s what gets him in trouble.”
With the trade deadline looming in the shadows, the idea of any playoff run might be a moot point, if it isn’t that already. There have been rumors that players like Juan Pierre, Joe Blanton, or Shane Victorino, who is in the last year of his contract, will not be wearing a Phillies uniform by the time Aug. 1st rolls around.
Because all the numbers are pointing to the notion that the Phillies will be sellers on July 31st , take one last look at some of those guys because they won’t be here and the season will be written off as a lost year. But Rollins said the playoffs can still happen this and history is on their side.
“Colorado (2007) won 19 in September and found themselves in the wildcard. Those stories are still around baseball,” Rollins said.