The Phillies have not been shut-out in three consecutive games since 1983…until now. 4 of their last 5 games were shut-outs. In those 5 games, the Phillies have scored in just 1 inning of those last 45 innings played. That is a 5-game, 44 inning drought, which translates to 132 outs recorded without scoring. And just for fun, I counted the pitches in all 44 of those innings; 664 pitches without scoring a run!
Counting up those stats has been the most fun I have had all week as a Phillies fan. Because the rest of the week has sucked, big time. Getting swept by the Mets in a 3-game series; watching good pitching go to waste; screaming at the TV in a vain attempt to get Phillies batters to stop swinging at junk pitches; and then of course, those lovely stats I listed above. I have not seen this team play baseball this bad in years.
Charlie Manuel held a team meeting after the 0-3 loss last night telling the team, “Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.” Really? Because if a bear tried to eat me, I would totally kick his furry a*ss. What this team needs is to have a fire lit under them. Much like the bonfire into which they have apparently tossed their bats. But tough love is not in Manuel’s manual.
We used to have players, like Aaron Rowand, who were good at handling their teammates. He had no problem calling out players who were slacking. There are leaders on this team too, but none of them as vocal. Someone needs to step up and give these guys a swift kick in the rear.
Not that they are not trying; no one want to play 44 scoreless innings. But the urgency and energy are gone. They look half-asleep out there. And the pitchers, who have put forth good efforts, are starting to get frustrated.
Cole Hamels had a good game last night, allowing 2 earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. The bullpen, which had not been good to start the year, has come around and they are holding games down pretty well.
But the offense is not holing up their end. Chase Utley is 1 for list last 13 at-bats; Ryan Howard is 2 for 18; Jayson Werth is 3 for 18 – shaving his beard off did not help. And in last night’s game, the Phillies hit into a double play to end an inning 3 straight times. They are not helping themselves out at all.
The team will be in Miami today to start a 3-game series with the Marlins. If they do not snap out of this funk tonight, they will likey be saying goodbye to 1st place in the NL East very soon. Game time is 7:10pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography