Did the Phillies forget to pay their electric bill this month? Because they are suffering from a serious and prolonged power outage. When sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley finally came off the DL in mid-late August, everyone was relieved to finally see the Phillies line-up back in order. But the relief was short lived as the team has been on a downward spiral ever since.
And now, the Phillies have lost ground in the NL East race, falling 3 games behind the Braves and missing key opportunities to catch up. This 4-game sweep at the hands of the Astros may come back to haunt them in September.
Howard has only 3 hits in his last 10 games and has struck out 20 times. In 16 at-bats for the Astros series, Howard got only 1 hit. Utley has had only 7 hits in his last 34 at-bats since coming off the DL. Other key players during the Astros 4-game series did not hit either; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had just 3 hits each. They have consistently failed to hit with runners in scoring position too, with the worst offender being Jayson Werth.
They have lost their fire and their intensity. That was no more evident than today in the 5th inning when Werth tried to tag and score on a shallow fly to right. Not only did Werth not even bother to slide, he never even touched the plate. Werth should have slid hard and tried to take out the catcher to get that run. Instead, he gave up and basically accepted defeat.
Kyle Kendrick looked half asleep on the mound too. Ever since JA Happ was shipped to the Astros, Kendrick had relaxed more and more each start, to the point where he is just not present on the mound. Maybe he figures there is no one left to take his job so why bother kicking it up a notch? Kendrick has allowed 15 runs in his last 4 starts, with 4 of those runs coming in 6 innings tonight.
However, the real offenders this series were the Phillies hitters who got absolutely nothing done. Except maybe for getting picked off on the base paths multiple times, failing to gets bunts down and not bothering to slide in order to score. The way they have played is disgraceful.
If the Phillies take this sort of attitude and performance into San Diego tomorrow, they are going to be crushed. They have 3 games with the Padres, 3 with the Dodgers and then a make-up in Denver against the now hot Rockies. Cross your fingers. Game time tomorrow is 10:05pm.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography