The Cubs took revenge on the Phillies last night after being clubbed over their tiny bear heads the last few days. So the Phils did not sweep and their win streak came to an end at 10 games. But if they win every 10 out of 11 games, I think most fans will be more than happy with that. :O)
Although you cannot win every time, there were a few concerning aspects of the game. Chase Utley does not look quite right. In the entire series, Utley managed only 1 hit in 13 at-bats and struck out 5 times, which is not usually his style. Utley also had an error in the field last night and just looks uncomfortable. While you hate to speculate, it was this same time last year that Utley’s hip began to really bother him. So, is he injured again or is this just a slump and maybe some fatigue after the rat race of the All-Star events? We shall see…
Another player who is showing signs of trouble is Brad Lidge. No one expects the perfection he displayed last year, of course. And his struggles at the beginning seem to stem from the injury to his knee. But now? Lidge claims to be healthy but has given up 5 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. That equates to an ERA of 7.94. And his ERA for the season stands at 7.20 which closely mirrors his last 7 games.
Lidge has been put into games several times in non-save situations, and as baseball lore tells us, this is usually not a good thing for any closer. It is said that the adrenaline and intensity are not the same in those situations, so many closers struggle. Frankly, I do not buy it. Do I see it happen all the time? Yes. But it should not happen. These guys should be able to pump themselves up no matter the situation; it is what they get paid for. If Lidge were truly “lights-out” when he does come in for saves, then the non-save problems would be easier to accept. But he struggles even in the save situations now, allowing too many hits and too many walks. Lidge did much of the same last year, but not to this extent. Should we be worried? Maybe. Lidge needs to step it up and start looking like the closer that everyone knows he has the potential and ability to be. But I am sure I do not need to tell him this; he already knows.
And that is my rant for the day :O) So, today was supposed to be an off-day, but thanks to earlier April Showers, the Padres will come to town tonight for the one game make-up date. Cole Hamels will need to do his best to rest our very weary bullpen. Start time is 7:05pm and it is dollar dog night at the ballpark. Enjoy!
Lidge Photo by Jenn
The Phillies suffered a migraine-sized Hamels headache today as Cole was unable to regain his 2008 form. In only 3 2/3 innings, Hamels allowed 7 runs on 11 hits and a walk; not a very MVP-like performance. Hamels left pitches up in the zone and his fastball topped out at about 87mph. The Rockies hitters took advantage. JA Happ came into the came to finish off the 4th inning and eventually pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up only 1 hit. This was a nice outing for the young pitcher who is trying to solidify his spot in the bullpen.
More bad news for the Phillies came in the 6th inning when catcher Carlos Ruiz was lifted from the game with a right oblique strain. This is a tricky, and usually very painful type of injury, so it will be a wait-and-see situation to find out if Ruiz will be alright. Oh, my aching head! Please pass the Tylenol…
One bright spot on the day was Jayson Werth, who went 4 for 4 with a home run, 2 doubles and 3 runs scored. Not so bright was Ryan Howard who hit into THREE double plays in the game, killing any chance the Phillies had at a rally. Also giving Phillies fans a tummy ache to go along with the headache was Raul Ibanez, who not only went 0 for 4 in the game, but his fumblings and stumblings in left field made ex-Phillie Pat Burrell’s fielding look graceful.
Chad Durbin nailed down the win for the Rockies when he came in to pitch the 8th inning and gave up 3 more runs, making it a 10-2 game. Durbin’s last outing was very sloppy as well; I am hoping he is just a slow starter and not carrying over his troubles from late in 2008.
Maybe the team should have handed out more rings tonight? 1 win in 4 games, with that win coming after receiving their World Series Rings, makes it seem like they need some higher incentive to play. Then again, the Phillies usually suck in April so, welcome to just another season of Phillies baseball! The saga continues at 8:10pm tomorrow…
Photo Credits: Hamels by Jenn
Oblique – USA Today
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