Two weeks ago, I got in touch with Justin Klugh over at That Ball’s Outta Here to talk about the Phillies before their two game melt-down at Progressive Field. We had so much fun exchanging questions that we decided to do it again. And even though They’ve already played one game of this two game set, a game that the Phillies managed to win, it still seems like a worthwhile endeavor to share our exchange.
Wahoo’s on First: So on a scale of one to aww crap! How excited are you to see the Indians coming to town after what happened last week in Cleveland? You guys gave up seven home runs in one game. Seven! How does that happen?
Justin Klugh: Well, Brian, first, you have to have a pitcher whose injured but doesn’t tell anyone. Then, Brian, you have to have a starting lineup that, if it scores 5-6 runs in one game, has used up its entire offense for the week. Then you need a bullpen you can always depend on to crumble and an opponent who happens to be about to become the hottest team in sports.
That’ll… that’ll do the trick.
I hate you.
Wahoo’s on First: What’s wrong with the Phillies’ offense? They’re ranked in the mid-20’s for most of the major categories, which seems a bit out of whack for them historically.
Justin Klugh: Well, you’ve got Ryan Howard, who didn’t get his first hit in this four-game series with the Diamondbacks until his last at-bat. You got J-Roll, popping out to beat the band. Erik Kratz is a DP machine, as is Ben Revere, somehow. We’re still waiting for a corner outfielder to pull some weight who isn’t Laynce Nix, but only when he comes off the bench. Dom Brown will bang a homer then sit still for a few days. Chase is always productive, but he’s just one handsome man out there. Michael Young lends a hand from time to time but their placement in the lineup and lack of runners on ahead of them makes it tough to score runs.
Wahoo’s on First: I know I hit on a sore subject last time when I asked about Roy Halladay, but… are you more or less concerned that his 35-year-old shoulder can apparently be operated on and magically brought back to life? Again, he’s 35 and having shoulder surgery… 30-friggin-5. What could go possibly wrong, right?
Justin Klugh: I guess his shoulder could become sentient, break off, and go on a murderous rampage, stalking and killing every person who doubted him in the course of his career. That would “make” “sense.”
I consider him gone at this point, and save my emotions for when he says it himself. His apology to the fans was bad enough. A lot of people don’t think he’s finished, though – if he’s not back this year, he’ll be back next year. But how do you think that when he’s a free agent in the offseason? It’s all very, very sad.
Wahoo’s on First: At what point do you think the Phillies should call it a day for 2013 and start cashing in their assets to build for the future? Have they already reached that point or are they going to continue to act like everything’s going great right now even though it looks like they’re in third place in a two-horse race in the NL East?
Justin Klugh: I think the faint heart beat (READ: not double digits under .500) and the lack of a painfully dominant team in the NL East (Braves fell back to earth, Nats have yet to really get off the ground, and they keep adding names to the DL) gives everybody weird hope.
I don’t know man, baseball is dumb. I think the trade deadline is a safe bet. Halfway through the season, if there’s no shot, engage a trade that starts picking the team apart and bringing in younger guys. Start a youth movement. That’ll be refreshing. Get Freddy Galvis out there all the time, maybe Dom Brown takes a leadership role. Keep Chase around as your gruff veteran presence.
Of course, Ryan will always be here. Eesh.
Wahoo’s on First: What do you think happens this time around? Will the Phillies play better or is this going to be another long two days for them against the Indians?
Justin Klugh: In our own park, without the Roy Halladay Conundrum, I say we take both of them this time. The universe can’t smile that cleanly on Cleveland, right?
Wahoo’s on First: I hate you…