The Phillies managed to spend only one day out of the basement in the NL East after Saturday’s win. But Sunday’s twin killing against the Rays propelled them right back to where they apparently belong; in last place. When your two best starters are pitching and you still lose both games, things have clearly gone very, very wrong.
In the first game, Cole Hamels was practically unhittable. He did not allow a run over 7 innings and gave up only 3 hits.
Leaving the game with a 1-0 lead, the bullpen was going to have to pitch 2 clean innings. And as you probably already know, that did not happen.
I try not to say too much about how Charlie Manuel handles this team. Because frankly, what he has been given to work with is on par with a minor league team. But after Antonio Bastardo walked 2 batters in the 8th with just a 1-run lead, he should not have been allowed to continue. Bastardo was awful the day before and clearly, he still has not found proper command of his pitches. So why then is he left in to pitch to Carlos Pena?
Apparently, he was left in to clear the bases for the next pitcher as he gave up a 3-run homer to Pena. I saw that coming, as did everyone in my section screaming, “Take him out!” But Manuel puts blind faith in these guys even when it has become obvious to everyone else that the leash has gotten far too long.
Then again, look at the players Manuel has to choose from. The pickings are slim. This bullpen just sucks, so in that regard, it is still hard to blame the manager. I still don’t agree with the decision to leave Bastardo in, but I am also glad I was not the one having to make that decision.
And then in the 8th with 2 outs and the bases loaded, Manuel left Michael Martinez in to bat instead of pinch hitting. Martinez is hitting .133 and could not hit the broad side of a barn right now. After the game, Manuel told the media that neither Juan Pierre nor Mike Fontenot were hitting lefties well, so he left Martinez in. The issue with that is, Martinez is not hitting ANYONE right now.
Angry at the media for asking, Manuel suggested the reporters should tweet him with their in-game decisions saying, “You guys can float the information down there to me, being as I ain’t smart enough to get it.” Oh my…
Here are a few other random shots from the 1st game, which the Phillies went on to lose, 3-2.
In game 2, Cliff Lee basically squashed any shot he may have had at his first win of the season by allowing 5 runs over 7 innings. His last 3 starts have been awful. Where did our ace go?
Perhaps the strain of not having a win has finally stolen whatever small amount of sanity he had left? No one really knows what is going on here.
Placido Polanco tried to get this team going. He went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a walk. John Mayberry Jr. also had a big hit and an RBI. And it was apparently “opposite day” for Hunter Pence who drew 3 walks in the game.
But the offense literally ended there. The Phillies managed only 4 hits and left 6 men on base.
And just so Lee did not feel singled out in this one, some of the rookie pitchers decided to help out with 5 walks, a wild pitch and 2 more runs for the Rays in one inning. It looks like B.J. Rosenberg’s major league career may be over before it began. He was responsible for all that damage except 1 of the walks.
Adding insult to injury, catcher Brian Schneider was leveled at home plate by Sean Rodriguez coming in to score. He left the game with a sprained ankle. Later, Pence almost took out the Rays catcher in a weird semi-collision with Jose Molina’s outstretched leg.
Schneider is now on the DL and the Phillies went down for the count in a 7-3 loss.
The Pirates come to town next for a 4-game series starting tonight at 7:05pm.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography