After two big wins over the Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Phillies failed to sweep the series with a loss on Thursday. And the Rockies are a team they very well should have swept.
The first two victories gave fans hope that this struggling team might finally be getting their act together. They played well and showed a winning attitude. But last night’s disaster saw those hopes dashed and frustration set it once again.
It is not that they lost the game. This is baseball; losses happen. The issue is how they lost the game.
Let us begin by looking at the opposing pitcher, Jeff Francis. This guy had a minor league deal with the Reds this year, who finally released him. The Rockies picked him up and Francis had a 12.46 ERA in 2 starts for them coming into this game. This is a guy that the Phillies should have absolutely pounded.
Instead, they left 7 men on base and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Worse than that, the Phillies continue to fail to score runners from 3rd with less than 2 outs. In the 2nd inning, Jimmy Rollins, who homered to start the game, popped out with 1 out and a man on third. J-Roll had 2 pop-outs and a ground ball double play to go with his solo homer in this game.
Then in the 8th, the Phillies squandered a lead-off double by Ty Wigginton. Hunter Pence struck out swinging at a crap pitch…again. Carlos Ruiz flied out and Shane Victorino popped out to end the inning. Both Pence and Victorino walked back to the dugout to a chorus of boo’s from the frustrated fans who are tired of watching the same mistakes over and over and over…
As for the pitching, Vance Worley and his bone-chip plagued elbow were a bit shaky. But he kept the team in the game and walked off the mound to a 2-1 score with the Phillies trailing. Still, he did all he could.
But the bullpen failed once again. Chad Qualls had a bad inning but escaped without allowing a run thanks to a good defensive play by Ruiz at home plate. Still, Qualls heard the boo’s too as his season has been much worse than you would expect from a veteran bullpen guy.
The problem there is that the rest of the pen is mostly rookies who are clearly not ready for the bigs. Between Jake Diekman and Michael Schwimer, the Rockies padded their lead to a 4-1 score.
Down by 3 runs in the 9th, there would be no comeback on this day as the Phillies went down in order. Yes, right back to the old 2012 ways we have become so accustomed to this season.
A 3-game series with the Rays begins tonight and fans can only pray for a miracle. Cliff Lee will try, once again, to get his first win of the season. Game time is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography