Interview: Five Questions For Phillies Writer

Since I’ve been busy keeping tabs on the Mets games, I haven’t had a chance to see many Phillies games since the Mets last series against them in April. The Mets are 4-2 so far against Philly but haven’t seen them since mid-April.

I decided to go to the source to find out what’s going on with the Phillies as we approach the All-Star break and the non-waiver trading deadline. I threw five questions at Phillies blog writer Phanatic from U.B.L.a Phillies blog. I also answered five questions about the Mets that you can see on his blog.

Ok, here we go with a state of the Phillies: Brett Myers is the big story for the Phillies this week. How do you think his poor season will affect the Phillies plans for the trading deadline? Do they need to go out and get a starter?

U.B.L.: Brett Myers’ performance will not affect what the Phillies will do at the trade deadline.  The Phils still had all intentions of trying to acquire another starting pitcher.  However, they were hoping that Myers would remain in the lineup so they could have a 1,2,3 punch with Myers, Hamels and someone from outside the organization.  Unfortunately Myers performed so poorly that he is viewed as damaged goods and would be difficult to incorporate into a trade. Speaking of the trading deadline, what’s on the Phillies shopping cart? And do you think the Phillies would use Pat Burrell and his expiring contract as trade bait?

U.B.L.: The Phillies are looking to acquire another left hander in the bullpen to pair up with J.C. Romero.  They obviously would like to pick up another starter with the likes of C.C. Sabathia, Erik Bedard, or Aaron Harang.  Even though they do not discuss it much I have heard that a change in the catcher position would be welcome, but difficult to fill.  Carlos Ruiz has hit an offensive slump, but the problem maybe solved internally with some prospects from the farm league in either Reading or Lehigh Valley.  Pat Burrell will not be able to help out the Phils this year since he has a stead fast no trade clause until the end of the 08 season.  Pat has made it well known that he wishes to finish his career in Philadelphia if possible. Ryan Howard’s stats appear that he’s having a down season. But his stats are really good in clutch at-bats. He’s hitting .155 with the bases empty and .330 with runner in scoring position. What do you make of his season so far?

U.B.L.: Ryan has historically has slow starts to his seasons or at least until after the All Star break.  I have already accepted that Ryan will probably never hit for average, but he is 2nd in the majors for RBIs’ only out done by Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers so, I cannot sound too disappointed.  Understandably he has Rollins, Victorino, and Utley in the lineup prior to him so that helps. Chase Utley is on pace to be the third straight MVP for the Phillies. In only his fourth season of starting full time he’s on track to do things that only Hall of Fame second basemen have done. Is he the centerpiece of this franchise, or is this still Rollins and Howard’s team?

U.B.L.: Chase Utley is definitely the backbone of the team though, he is a silent partner.  If you ask Chase he would say Jimmy Rollins, but that’s only because Jimmy likes all the hype and fanfare.  Chase is a very dedicated player who spends hours reviewing video to improve his swing and learn about the opposing hurlers.  Ryan Howard is another monster who may have played himself out of Philly due to the large salary requirements he received in arbitration.  The Phillies need to sign him to a long deal soon or he may be out of their range.  It would be nice to have 3 MVP’s in a row, but there is so many good players that I would understand if he did not get it this year. Brad Lidge has been lights out this season. His 2006 and 2007 seasons in Houston were forgettable though. How much of a concern is there among Phillies fans that he could crack at the end of the season?

U.B.L.: I do not think that has been considered.  Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee have watched Lidge very closely to ensure that he is not being over utilized.  Fortunately the Phillies have a very strong bullpen to rely on as well as a potent offense when activated so, it reduces the amount of times Lidge is needed.  I can think of several times this year were Manuel has used Durbin, Gordon, Romero, and Condrey to close out the game to allow Brad to remain rested.

Thanks to Phanatic from U.B.L. for the Phillies information.