Interleague baseball continues at the Rogers Centre tonight, and after winning just one of six games against the Braves and Nationals, the Blue Jays welcome the Phillies to town. Not to get overly dramatic in mid-June, but this series sort of feels like a must win for Toronto. Taking just one (or zero) of the three games would push the Blue Jays further under .500, and deeper into the AL East cellar. With the fanbase confidence already a bit uneasy, that would be devastating for morale.
To get some perspective into Phillies nation, I asked Ethan Seidel, a Staff Writer at FanSided’s Phillies site That Balls Outta Here, a few questions about his team, and in turn answered a few questions for him about the current state of the Blue Jays. Head over to their site if you’d like to see my answers as well.
Kyle Matte: It has obviously been a rough year for Phillies fans given the significant injuries to so many key players. The Braves and Nationals appear very real — they just handed the Blue Jays 5 losses in 6 games — do you think Philadelphia has a chance to catch them? How optimistic is the fan base?
Ethan Siedel: I would put optimism in Philadelphia at slim to none. Granted, we tend to be a pessimistic lot, but there isn’t much to get excited about. Not only are the Nats and Braves real contenders, but the Phils are still staring up at the Marlins and Mets in the standings. By the time Utley, Howard, and Halladay come back it will be too little too late.
KM: What’s going on with Domonic Brown? He was one of the top prospects in baseball before losing his rookie eligibility last year, yet he’s currently sitting in the minors with Juan Pierre manning left field.
ES: Domonic Brown has gone from untouchable to unwanted. The teams plan from spring training was to give him some consistency and keep him in AAA all year. As funny as it looks to be blocked by Juan Pierre, Brown hasn’t done enough in his time in Philly to warrant another promotion. A change of scenery could do him wonders, but that won’t gel with a team that looks to be on the verge of re-tooling.
KM: How do you see the Cole Hamels situation unfolding? Are the Phillies capable of giving him the contract he wants, or will he hit the open market (whether through trade or free agency)?
ES: One thing should be clear about the Cole Hamels situation: the Phillies CAN sign him. Despite shelling out big dollars to Halladay and Lee they have deep pockets thanks to selling out and an impending new tv contract. That said, every day they don’t sign him it gets less likely he will be in Philadelphia next year. I always thought they would find a way to get it done, but if they let him test the market (with the Yankees and Dodgers looming) it may be too late. He wants what CC Sabathia got, but I think Matt Cain‘s deal is a more accurate framework.