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 firstname.lastname@example.org