The Dog Days of Summer are winding down and so is the season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
With a month to go, this sorry team will play out a string of games to empty seats in a beautiful ballpark which once served as a field of dreams for the fans who enjoyed the winning years, back-back World Series appearances and a championship.
Those days seem so far gone.
These days, the Fightin' Phils play without much promise, an aging team trying to keep it together under a rookie manager who doesn't seem to bring much fire and authority to his job.
We've watched a relatively healthy team. But one that has once again underperformed.
Sure Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have had their moments. Marlon Byrd has put together a solid year upon his return. And Ryan Howard has some solid RBI numbers, but not what you'd expect from a guy being paid $25 million a year.
Carlos Ruiz is steady defensively behind the plate, but hasn't provided much pop. Cody Asche, at third base, shows some flashes of success, but he's still a developing player. And who knows what happened to former All-Star Domonic Brown this year.
Only Ben Revere, criticized heavily on sports radio, has produced beyond expectations, becoming a hitting machine who is challenging for a batting title.
Well, it's hard to fathom that these players won't all be in the starting lineup next season, based on hefty contracts and a high regard by the fan base not to cut ties with some of the players from the 2008 world championship team.
It's hard to move on from the past sometimes.
The starting pitching is what has also killed this team.
While Cole Hamels is in tip-top shape, A.J. Burnett has been spotty, Kyle Kendrick terrible, David Buchanon unseasoned and newcomer Jerome Williams showing he might have enough spunk and gas in his tank to become the team's No. 5 next year. And, of course, Cliff Lee was lost to injury.
The best feature of this team, surprisingly, has been the bullpen. Lately, call it dominating.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon has been lights out. And rookie flamethrower Ken Giles and the intense Jake Diekman have closed the door from the seventh inning on.
Yes, another losing baseball season is winding down.
It's been another tough year for Phillies fans. Who knows what the future may bring?
Dino Ciliberti is a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, journalist of 30 years and award-winning sports writer who lives in Upper Dublin Township in Montgomery County. With Philly Sports Chatter he shares his thoughts about the professional sports in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.