Now that Phillies fans have all gotten used to seeing Joe Blanton in top form, I suppose he was due to throw a clunker. Blanton had only given up 2 home runs all year, but last night, he gave up 4 in just one game against the Red Sox.
By the middle of the 4th inning, the score was 5-1 and Blanton had also already made two huge fielding errors in the game. Clearly, this was not his night. So when Pete Orr was on deck in the bottom of the 4th to hit for Blanton, I thought, great idea! Let’s get some more runs and let the pen have a shot at shutting down the Sox.
Imagine my dismay when, after Freddy Galvis smacked a 2-run homer, Orr was called back to the dugout and Blanton went out to hit! Really? Those 2 runs meant Blanton would suddenly snap out of his funk? I think not…
And sadly, I was correct. I get that manager Charlie Manuel did want to rely on what has been an unreliable bullpen. But if there was ever a time to give them a shot to redeem themselves, this was it. Blanton looked awful out there and the insanity continued in the 5th inning.
Only after allowing 3 more hits, including a 2-run homer, was Blanton finally pulled from the game, having recorded only 1 out in the inning. Buried in a 7-4 hole, the bullpen did actually get the job done after that, not allowing another run to score. But by that time, the damage was done and the Phillies scored only one more run.
The offense had changes, but luck did not go their way. Carlos Ruiz, the teams hottest hitter, was robbed of what should have been a 2-run double in the 7th by Ryan Sweeney, who suddenly grew wings, flew through the air and snagged Ruiz’s hit out of the air. It was an amazing play.
In the 9th, Ruiz was robbed again as he smoked a ball…unfortunately, it went right to the shortstop and was caught. The ball was hit so hard that Hunter Pence had no chance to get back to first and was doubled up. Bad luck, indeed…
Later, Shane Victorino popped out on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded in the 8th. And that was the end of the threat as the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 7-5.
There were some bright spots, like Galvis’ homer, making it 2 games in a row with a bomb. And John Mayberry Jr. reached base all 5 times he stepped to the plate for the first time in his career. Hector Luna also had a great night with 3 hits and an RBI.
But mostly, the good news is that the Phillies never gave up, even when it looked like the game was out of reach. This is something that we have all been waiting for this season…a little extra fight even when they are down.
They have another shot at the Sox today. If they win, the Phils will take the series. Cliff Lee is pitching and I will return with photos! Game time is 1:35pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography