Northeast Times

Sports-radio callers think Phils should be bashers

I did something this week that I nor­mally don’t do. 

I listened to sports-talk ra­dio. 

I al­ways think it is go­ing to be a good idea, and then I turn it on and real­ize how wrong I was. While my opin­ion on the mat­ter is un­ne­ces­sary here, I did hear a few things in the 10 minutes I listened that were kind of funny to me. 

The biggest top­ic was the gen­er­al ex­pect­a­tion that Chase Ut­ley’s re­turn would spark the of­fense to score a dozen runs a night. I wrote about Ut­ley’s re­turn last week, es­pe­cially the need to be real­ist­ic about how much one guy can af­fect a lineup.

Ap­par­ently most of the Phil­adelphia fans eager to call the ra­dio sta­tion and chat had no re­ser­va­tions about Ut­ley’s re­turn from in­jury. They wanted to be­lieve that he could single-handedly lift the Phil­lies of­fense from its funk.

While Ut­ley did seem to give the of­fense an en­ergy boost, he also showed that he is far from full strength, and, in turn, the of­fense is not yet an ex­plos­ive run ma­chine.

Next up on the ra­dio show were a few fans ex­press­ing their dis­ap­point­ment that the Phil­lies were not win­ning games as eas­ily as they’d been ex­pec­ted to at the start of the  eason.

There also was the no­tion that the Phils should be win­ning every game star­ted by that loaded ro­ta­tion of Roy Hal­laday, Cliff Lee, Roy Os­walt and Cole Hamels. These fans also ex­pec­ted the team to win a ma­jor­ity of games star­ted by Joe Blan­ton … or who­ever was deemed the fifth starter. 

While I’m not dis­put­ing that the gen­er­al lack of of­fense has made the sea­son frus­trat­ing at times, some per­spect­ive can help. 

Through their first 54 games, the Phil­lies were 34-20 with a three-game lead on the Flor­ida Mar­lins in the NL East. 

They also have the best re­cord in all of base­ball.

So what if they score only two or three runs at times … they are not go­ing to be able to pro­duce 10 runs a game all sea­son. 

In fact, it’s ar­gu­ably bet­ter that they battle through tough times like these so that they don’t get com­fort­able and fig­ure they won’t have to work hard to win games.

And it’s not like the pitch­ers aren’t do­ing their jobs; the trio of Hal­laday, Hamels and Lee are keep­ing the Phil­lies well-rep­res­en­ted among ma­jor-league play­ers on the lead­er boards. 

Be­sides, al­though it’d be nice to see more games like Sat­urday’s against the Mets, when the Phils did put up 10 runs, a steady diet of those routs would leave a lot of fans hungry for some ex­cit­ing base­ball.

An­oth­er is­sue on the show — and this one knocked me back a bit — came from a caller ask­ing why the Phil­lies had not benched or got­ten rid of Raul Ibanez.

If that ques­tion does not sur­prise you, then you shouldn’t call your­self a Phil­lies fan. 

Ibanez had an April to for­get — I will give the caller that much. Through 24 games he put to­geth­er just 14 hits, only three for ex­tra bases, while be­ing ro­tated out of the start­ing lineup at times. 

But since the cal­en­dar turned to May, Ibanez has been every bit of an of­fens­ive force that Phils brass were hop­ing he’d be when they signed him to re­place Pat Bur­rell.

In 27 games (not in­clud­ing Tues­day’s game against Wash­ing­ton), Ibanez has amassed 33 hits — in­clud­ing eight doubles, a triple and sev­en home runs — while be­ing re­in­stated as the every­day left­field­er. 

Al­though I did get some help­ful info dur­ing the brief time I’d tuned in, it was enough to re­mind me why I stay away from sports ra­dio. ••

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

You can reach at mgodfrey@bsmphilly.com.

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