I feel the need to amend. I'd say clarify instead, but to do something like that means to omit a wrong.
And man was I wrong.
Not too long ago - January 30, 2008, to be precise - I wrote a little essay entitled, "2008 Phillies: Playing for 2nd place" and, man, was I ever off on that one.
The basic premise of the story was that Johan Santana was so good that the Mets would not be able to help themselves in winning the NL East. To be sure, Santana is good. Actually, he's very good and probably better than any pitcher the Phillies have. In fact, Santana might very well win 20 games for the Mets this season and in his 11 starts so far, the Mets are 8-3.
In that regard the Santana deal is working out very well for the Mets.
The trouble is that while the Mets have a .727 winning percentage in games started by Santana, they are 18-24 in games started by pitchers not named Johan Santana. Those aren't exactly Steve Carlton in '72 numbers, but who would have guessed that the Mets would have been this bad?
The idea was that Santana would lift up the entire ballclub rather than be the guy doing all the heavy lifting.
So here we are on the last day of May on the cusp of June with July and the All-Star Break not too far away. Behind that, the dog days lurk, but by then will the Mets (or Mutts) have rolled over on their backs to reveal their soft, pink rounded bellies.
That certainly seems where we're headed.
Really, come on... who would have guessed that there would have been such a big carry-over from the most epic collapse in baseball history? Apparently, not me.
So that's the reason for the amendment. Because the Mets, well... stink, and because the Braves might not have all of the pitching or health needed, and because the Marlins aren't quite ready yet, the NL East in 2008 is the Phillies' to lose.
Actually, make that to win.
Yes, it's all rainbows and unicorns here with the Phillies these days. After all, they score runs like a beer league softball team and pitch well enough not to mess up anything. No, that last part isn't the most inspiring type of pitching staff to have, but whatever.
Unless something really wacky occurs, don't expect to see the Phillies give up first place any time this year.