But this year, Manuel's eighth with the team, has been a major disappointment.The Phillies are 45-54, last in the National League East.
For a team that has one of the strongest lineups in the majors with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, the offense has been a disappointment. The Phillies' offensive statistics rank just about in the middle of baseball.
The team's pitching is just slightly better. Thought to have one of the best starting staffs in baseball, the Phillies offer three of the best pitchers in the game with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. The closer, Jonathan Papelbon, is still effective, too.
But both the pitching and offense has underperformed this year, and the Phillies have had to fight through a fair share of injuries. Howard, who tore his Achilles tendon during the last play of Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals, didn't return to major league action until July 6. The often-injured Utley was sidelined until June 27 with a knee injury. Halladay spent time on the 15-day disabled list earlier this season with a shoulder strain, but he hasn't been himself all season (the former Cy Young winner is 4-5 with a 4.32 ERA).
Sounds a lot like the Red Sox, right? It seems like every member of the team, especially the key players, has either been injured or hasn't played up to expectations. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have missed significant time due to injuries. Dustin Pedroia has been battling thumb problems, and David Ortiz is working on a return from his own Achilles injury.
The Red Sox still haven't seen success from Daisuke Matsuzaka. Josh Beckett isn't anywhere near the high level he was pitching at last year, and Jon Lester seems to have lost his elite form this season. And key offseason pickup Andrew Bailey has yet to play in the major leagues this year.
With a 49-50 record and an offense and pitching staff that just never seems to get on a roll, the Red Sox have had trouble working themselves into playoff contention this year.
It hasn't been an easy ride for either team, both of whom came into this year aiming for a World Series. As of Friday, both teams are last in their respective divisions, but both still have postseason hopes.
Considering the woes of Philadelphia and Boston, which team has a better chance of turning it around?
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