After yesterday’s disheartening 4-3 loss to the Mets, the Phillies were hoping for a different result today. The Braves won yesterday, which put the Phillies into a tie for first place in the NL East. But with Roy Oswalt starting the game today, taking 2 of 3 from the Mets looked likely.
However, the Phillies offense has begun to stutter again. They were unable to score until the 8th inning last night, which wound up being too little, too late. Today, Chase Utley drove a run in during the 1st inning; that seemed like a good start. Ryan Howard singled in another run in the 3rd, but after that, the offense went back to sleep.
Raul Ibanez finally woke up the Phillies for a short time in the 7th when he belted a solo homer to bolster the Phillies lead to 3-0. The Phillies then loaded the bases with no outs but failed to score again. Oswalt grounded out and Placido Polanco hit into a double play. They did not score in the 9th either so the game would rest on the pitching of Oswalt.
After yesterday’s bullpen disaster with 2 runs allowed in the 7th, manager Charlie Manuel was probably hoping he could give the pen a day off. Oswalt started today and was mowing down Mets hitters one by one. With just over 100 pitches going into the 9th inning, Oswalt had held the Mets scoreless.
Despite getting hit in the ankle with a ground ball in the 9th, Oswalt kept pitching and induced a double play for the first two outs. He struck out the next batter and gave the Phillies a 3-0 win. It was his 20th complete and 8th shut-out of his career.
The Phillies will now travel to Miami to face the Marlins for a 3-game series. Both the offense and the bullpen are still major concerns for the Phillies. Hopefully, the Florida sunshine will get the bats heated up again. Game time is 7:10pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography