Cole Hamels did everything humanly possible today against the Cardinals to get himself and his team a win. In fact, he pitched 8 shut-out innings, allowing only one hit. Hamels was on fire. Too bad that fire did not rub off on the rest of the team. Seriously…what will it take to get the Phillies hitting again? If this spectacular performance from Hamels did not inspire them, then is there anything that can help?
Charlie Manuel keeps shifting the line-up around, praying for a miracle. But it looks like he is just throwing names into a hat and picking them out randomly. Jimmy Rollins usually only produces in the lead-off spot; it is what he is used to. Put him back or sit him down. Placido Polanco needs to stay in the 2-hole. Just put the line-up back the way it was intended to be, except for the 3-hole, which was Chase Utley’s spot. Raul Ibanez has been ok in that spot, but the rest of the line-up needs to settle in so they know what to expect each day.
The Phillies did scatter 9 hits through the first 9 innings today but went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Howard, Polanco and Brian Schneider each had multi-hit games. But once they got on base, someone would either strike out or hit into a double play. Jayson Werth went hitless through 9 innings. And he killed more than his share of possible rallies.
In the month of July through the 9th inning today, Werth is hitting only .215 with no home runs and only 3 RBI. Shaving the beard apparently did not help him. Rollins has been even worse; as of the 9th inning today, he was batting .184 with 8 RBI in July. Basically, the only Phillies that have been hitting consistently are Howard and Polanco.
But extra innings seemed to be the kick in the rear that the Phillies were in need of. Polanco was getting tired of being left on base so in the 11th inning, he hit a solo homer to break up the stalemate between these two teams. A walk by Ibanez and another single from Howard set the table for Werth…again. But Werth finally came through with a double. It was his first hit with runners in scoring position since June 24th; nearly an entire month.
So the Phillies went into the bottom of the 11th with a 2-0 lead and would have to rely on Brad Lidge to save the game. And while the inning was not without drama as Lidge walked the lead-off batter, he did finally get the job done. Phillies win, 2-0.
The Phillies will head back to Philadelphia after this dismal road trip where they won just 2 games out of 8. Roy Halladay will pitch against the Rockies tomorrow; game time is 7:05pm. The starters for the rest of the weekend have not yet been announced. But frankly, if they do not get out of this hitting slump, they could throw a Siberian Tiger out on the mound and it would not make a difference. We hope it does not come to that.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography