Northeast Times

Phils have an end-of-season to-do list

I am not sure ex­actly how it happened, but Septem­ber is here. 

The sum­mer months are be­hind us, and it is time to get or­gan­ized for the fall. 

As far as the Phil­lies go, they find them­selves on the perch of an­oth­er post­season run to­ward a World Series crown, but like most, they have a “to-do” list of their own that they need to take care of between now and the end of the sea­son. 

Let’s take a look at the ma­jor items they need to ad­dress:

Hamels must be healthy

Cole Hamels made his re­turn from the 15-day dis­abled list on Monday (a Phils’ win over the Reds, though he didn’t get the de­cision), hav­ing coped with a “dead arm” since early Au­gust. 

A healthy Hamels, paired with a now-healthy Roy Os­walt as well, puts the Phil­lies “Four Aces’ back on the table and lets the team turns its at­ten­tion to get­ting the bull­pen in or­der.

about that bull­pen …

Dur­ing the last few weeks, we have seen what can hap­pen when Ant­o­nio Bas­tardo, Mi­chael Stutes and Ry­an Mad­son can­not close games.

For much of the sea­son, fans haven’t had to worry about the back end of the bull­pen. But over the last few weeks, the trio have im­ploded to vary­ing de­grees.

The Phils have roughly four weeks to fig­ure out how to get those three re­liev­ers — along with bull­pen pitch­ers Brad Lidge and Dav­id Herndon — back in sync if they hope to make a le­git­im­ate run for an­oth­er trophy. 

Who plays left­field?

All year, the big ques­tion for the Phil­lies’ out­field fo­cused on who’d be the starter in right­field. The trade for Hunter Pence has answered that ques­tion, so left­field is un­der scru­tiny now. 

The po­s­i­tion has been Raul Ibanez’s all sea­son, and it is his spot to lose, but John May­berry Jr. is mak­ing a very loud ar­gu­ment for why he should be play­ing on an every­day basis. 

The toughest de­cision the Phils will have to make over the next month just might be wheth­er to bench Ibanez and play May­berry. 

Do you go with the vet­er­an? Or do you go with the guy who’s pro­du­cing?

Lefty on the bench

Re­mem­ber Matt Stairs’ pinch-hit homer against the Dodgers in 2008? The one he hit in the Na­tion­al League Cham­pi­on­ship Series that helped pro­pel the Phil­lies to the World Series?

That sea­son could have turned out dif­fer­ently had Stairs not been in the mix, leav­ing the Phils to send a guy like Wilson Valdez or Mi­chael Mar­tinez to the plate to pinch-hit in that situ­ation. 

Noth­ing against Valdez or Mar­tinez, but there was a reas­on for re­cent ru­mors that the Phil­lies were try­ing to get Jim Thome back in the fold for the fi­nal few weeks of the sea­son. 

Right now, their “big lefty bench bats” are Ross Gload, who has not hit a home run this sea­son, and Bri­an Schneider, who most likely would not be used be­cause he’s the only backup catch­er for Car­los Ruiz. 

There might be some way to rec­ti­fy this situ­ation and get a de­pend­able lefthan­ded bat on the bench, but at this point it looks like the Phil­lies may be play­ing with the guys they have. ••

Colum­nist Matt God­frey can be reached at mgod­frey@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at mgodfrey@bsmphilly.com.

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