Hey, remember that amazing perfect game pitched by Roy Halladay a few days ago? That was so awesome. It was the happiest Phillies day in all of 2010 so far; a historical, momentous occasion. Ah, memories…
With the way the Phillies have been playing lately, that perfect game now seems like it happened ages ago; a distant memory of a happier time. Aside from that one bright spot, the Phillies last 10 games have resembled a bad horror movie, including today’s 9-3 loss to the Braves.
The game got off to a very scary start when, with 1st & 3rd and only 1 out, Ryan Howard hit into an inning-ending double play. Then starting pitcher Joe Blanton gave up a 2-run homer to Chipper Jones in the bottom of the 1st. To make matters worse, manager Charlie Manuel decided to put Ross Gload in right field to give the struggling Jayson Werth a mental day off. Well, with 2 outs, Gload missed a routine fly ball, sending the runner to second instead of ending the inning. That runner scored and the Phillies fell into an 0-3 hole.
The next inning was just as frightening; with 2 men on base and 1 out, Wilson Valdez grounded into another double play to end another inning.
Manuel got ejected from the game in the 3rd inning following an indecisive call by the home plate umpire. Larry Vanover said Greg Dobbs was hit by a pitch and then changed his mind after the Braves argued the call. Nice job, ump. Just what we needed…
Manuel’s ejection did nothing to wake the zombified Phillies offense. Howard missed an easy ground ball in the bottom of the 3rd, allowing yet another unearned run to score. And the Phillies bats stayed silent until the 7th inning when 4 straight doubles scored 3 runs. What? 3 runs in one inning and all with 2 outs in the inning? Who are these Phillies and where did they hide the zombies?
Oh wait, the undead have returned…in the form of the Phillies bullpen. Given a little hope with those 3 runs and trailing by just 3-6, the Phillies bullpen put a stop to that. Antonio Bastardo got 1 out in the 7th and then allowed a single and a walk. Chad Durbin took over and with just one pitch, he gave up a 3-run homer. I guess Durbin was just trying to clean off the bases for a fresh start? Ugh.
Earlier today, Brad Lidge was activated off the DL…again. How long this will last, no one knows. He did pitch the 8th inning, as the Phillies tried to ease him back into his regular role. He pitched a clean inning and looked like he is feeling much better. We shall see…
With Lidge back, instead of optioning the young Bastardo to make room, the Phillies chose to designate Nelson Figueroa for assignment. Figueroa may not be back. He has to clear waivers first and then, if he is not picked up, he could either become a free agent or take an assignment to the minors.
So with this loss today, the Phillies are out of first place, ½ game behind the Braves. If they can wake up and get anything done in the next 2 games against the Braves, they could turn it around. The way this month has gone, I am sure everyone is happy to be done with May. Let us hope June is better.
Head shots by Jenn Zambri Photography except Werth: MLB.com