Eskin To Phillies Fans: 'It's Too Early To Panic, But...'

Eskin To Phillies Fans: 'It's Too Early To Panic, But...'

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PHILADELPHIA -

The Phillies are getting ready to host the Mets and start a three-game series tonight.

Roy Halladay starts for the Phillies, who desperately need a win after a 2-4 start.

That's after losing two of three to Kansas City Royals, Cole Hamels struggling in his first two starts, the team's middle relievers off to a rocky start and with concerns lingering about Halladay.

Is it time for Phillies fans to his the panic button? We asked Howard Eskin this morning on "Good Day."

"It's too early to panic, but there are a lot of questions that we now see, which I tried to tell you guys abut, but you wouldn't listen," Eskin said.

"The lineup, I'm not excited about. The middle relief is a real issue. And we didn't know about Roy Halladay, and I think we're starting to find out."

Eskin went on, "I can live – and so can baseball people – with a reduction in his velocity. However, when you don't have location with that, and that's a problem. He's thrown like 190 pitches in his last two starts, and that's only been in 7 2/3 innings. That's almost impossible because most managers won't keep you in the game that long."

What can be done? "He's got to get better velocity, and there's nothing you can do because Roy Halladay is not hurt."

Asked if he's sure about that, Eskin said he's not 100 percent sure, because the right-handed starter didn't tell everybody he was hurt last year.

Eskin said he's not worried about Hamels, despite him walking four batters and only striking out two Royals on Sunday. The lefty had never before given up a grand slam before the one he served up to Billy Butler in the Phils' most recent loss.

He's been 1-5 in his first starts of the season, previously.

"There are other issues to be worried about," Eskin said, conceding that a pessimist saying they could be 0-6 might be right.

As for the lineup, Eskin said, "There's just not guys I can count on, especially if Ryan Howard's not hitting, which I think he will."

When "Good Day's" mike Jerrick mentioned that General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has been getting ripped around town, Eskin said that's because the G.M. is responsible for the players.

"But there are questions about the manager, which people don't want to hear from me," Eskin said. "Some of the things that he does, they're magnified."

The FOX 29 sports anchor said when you start losing games, things you're doing that are questionable attract more notice then when you make those choices with a three- or four-run lead, like Charlie Manuel had in years past.

"Now, I don't think Charlie Manuel will be back next year, and I think it's time for Ryne Sandberg to be the manager. But I don't think Ryne Sandberg could change a lot of things that go on with this team," Eskin said.

"Yes, they loved Ruben Amaro when he got Cliff Lee, they loved him when he signed Cole Hamels. I'm not ready to come down on Ruben yet, although they built the team the wrong way, and I don't know if that was all his doing – too much money into the starting pitching."

Eskin also mentioned the signing of closer Jonathan Papelbon.

"The problem also is that if you build all of that in pitching and you have a homerun park, that's a not the way to go. Offense is the way to go."

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