Well, they cured the offensive woes anyway. The Phillies completed a 4-game sweep of the Nationals this afternoon with an 8-6 win and Brad Lidge threw only 2 pitches to get the save. The starting pitching, however, still has BIG issues, not the least of which is Chan Ho Park. You know how I hate to repeat myself, but I have been wondering if Park’s last 2 good outings were a fluke; a result of the pressure on him to keep his job. Once the pressure was seemingly off him today because of those 2 good games, he went right back to stinking up the joint.
Park could have been pulled after one inning, where he gave up 3 runs to the lowly Nationals. But Charlie Manuel sent him out for a 2nd inning; Park got 1 out and then proceeded to load the bases and walk a run in. So, that was that. 1 1/3 innings is the official line with 5 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. Jack Taschner added the 5th run when he came in on relief and hit the next batter, sending another run home. Something needs to be done with Park. It is clear now that, as I suspected, he only pitches well when threatened with losing his job. We need a starter who is self-motivated.
The good news amidst all the starting pitching hoopla is that the offense found their bats in this series against the Nats. Jimmy Rollins had 7 hits in this series and is slowly digging out of an early offensive hole. Raul Ibanez continues to impress; he had 9 hits and 3 home runs in the last 4 games! And Pedro Feliz had 7 hits in the series. Everyone is contributing, and things are beginning to look up.
A few other pitching notes for the series: Andrew Carpenter came up from AA for the day yesterday to pitch the 2nd game of the doubleheader and got the job done. He gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings, but he gave them the innings they needed and the offense, plus a rain-shortened night, gave the Phils the 7-5 win. Carpenter went back to AA and Sergio Escalona, 24, was called in to replace him. Escalona, in his major league debut today, pitched one scoreless inning and earned the win. Congrats to the rookies!
The Phillies will take tomorrow off and then begin a 3 game series in Cincinnati, continuing the long road trip. Who will be starting for the Phillies? Nothing is written in stone right now. Jamie Moyer had his schedules Tuesday start pushed back to Wednesday; Joe Blanton has been terrible; and I think we all know how Park is doing. A lot of decisions are going to have to be made soon.
Photos by Jenn
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