Next three weeks crucial for Phils' season, future
NEW YORK – The Phillies have dug themselves such a deep hole that every game they play is crucial.
But these next three weeks are even beyond crucial.
If the Phillies don’t make up some serious ground soon, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. could start unloading talent before the July 31 trade deadline as he retools for 2013. The list of players that could go includes Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino.
Manager Charlie Manuel agreed with a reporter’s observation that the Phillies’ season is riding on these next three weeks.
“Very much so,” he said before the team opened a three-game series against the Mets on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to start winning. These next three weeks, we better win some games. Sure, I feel that way.”
Victorino, the subject of trade rumors, said it was up to the players to convince the front office not to sell off talent.
“I’m focused on winning,” he said. “We need to prove to the front office we can do that.”
All the Phillies proved in the first half of the season – they are 36-45 at the mathematical halfway point – is that they aren’t a very good team.
“From day one, we just haven’t played like a winning team has to play,” Manuel said.
The Phillies come back from the all-star break on July 13. They are expecting Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard back around that time. They could make a difference – if the Phillies don’t continue to spiral downward this next week. They entered Tuesday night 11 games back in the NL East and eight games out of the second wild-card spot.
“You won’t find two bigger acquisitions,” Victorino said. “We’re getting our No. 1 [starter] and our No. 4 [hitter] back.
“We have 81 games left. We have to show we can be a good team and I’m confident we will.”
Victorino said he’s not paying attention to trade rumors.
“I want to be in red,” he said. “I want to be in a Phillies uniform. So let’s go out there and turn this thing around.”Halladay ramping up
Halladay on Tuesday threw his second bullpen session since going on the DL with a lat strain behind his right shoulder. He simulated some inning breaks in throwing 56 pitches. Halladay will continue to throw in Florida during the all-star break. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said it was reasonable to expect Halladay back shortly after the break.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org