As the Washington Nationals came to town, so did Jayson Werth. In his first return to Philly since departing for “greener” pastures, Werth stepped to the plate amidst some boo’s from the fans. But within seconds, the cheers silenced the boo’s and Werth was welcomed back with the thanks he deserved for helping to bring Philly a World Championship in 2008.
Werth earned a little more love after the tip of his cap as he misplayed a ball that ended up as a triple for Jimmy Rollins. He subsequently made an off-line throw home, allowing Rollins to score on a Placido Polanco sac fly.
Rollins led off today, with Shane Victorino and then Polanco to follow. Shaky up the line-up a bit and putting J-Roll back in his comfort zone was likely meant to spark the offense, which has been sleepy for a while.
Raul Ibanez finally broke his hitless streak tonight which ended at 0-35. He hit a double in the fourth inning. That streak tied as second worst hitless streak for a Phillie; Joe Morgan went 0-35 in 1983 and Desi Relaford still holds the #1 spot with his 0-36 in 1998.
Although the streak was broken, Ibanez still left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. He swung at the first pitch after Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez had just walked the previous batter. But Ibanez was redeemed in the seventh with an RBI-double. Those two hits had to feel really good after an 0-35 stretch.
But luckily for the Phillies, Cole Hamels was not just pitching tonight; he was hitting as well. Hamels whacked a two-out triple in the third. Rollins then knocked him in for the first run of the night.
In the fourth, another odd thing happened. The Nationals intentionally walked Pete Orr, who had batted .154 in his previous four games, to load the bases. Then with a 2-0 count in his favor, catcher Brian Schneider swung and gave the Nats the double play they were hoping for.
But Hamels kept the team in the game, allowing only four hits in his first seven innings. In the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies added on a few runs for a 4-1 lead. Then in the eighth, Hamels smacked his second hit of the night, a single. Yes, the pitcher was a mere homer and double away from hitting for the cycle ;o)
But Hamels did not need to hit for the cycle to impress. He stayed in for the ninth and got his first complete game of the year, while only allowing one run. But I am willing to bet he is still prouder of the two hits ;o)
Roy Oswalt was supposed to start today, but he is still in Mississippi taking care of tornado damage at his house. The Phillies had enough days off to move the rotation up a day, which worked out just fine for Hamels. FYI – Oswalt will be back for his next start.
But first, Vance Worley will make his second start of the year tomorrow. Game time is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After tonight’s horrifying loss to the Cubs, what I would like to know is, who kidnapped Roy Halladay and replaced him with an imposter? After six innings, this Halladay imposter had given up 6 runs, 5 of them earned. Who IS this guy? Will Ruben Amaro Jr. pay the ransom to get the real Halladay back? He wouldn’t pay to keep Cliff Lee, so I am not holding my breath. ;o)
Ok, back to reality… In one of Halladay’s worst outings as a Phillie, one thing did not change: he still did not get any run support from his offense. To make matters worse, the Phillies fielders did not bail him out in big situations either. In the 2nd inning, after already allowing 3 runs, Ryan Howard missed a foul ball pop-up from Derrek Lee that would have ended the inning.
Then, with 2 strikes on Lee and runners at first and third, Carlos Ruiz had a brain cramp. He decided to throw to second as Starlin Castro tried to steal and Ruiz botched the throw. Tyler Colvin scored easily from 3rd. Ruiz was given an error and Lee struck out on the next pitch. So that was one more unnecessary run handed over to the Cubs.
Things got monumentally worse in the 7th inning when the Phillies bullpen was called upon. JC Romero gave up 2 singles without recording an out and was pulled. The rookie David Herndon took over and the Cubs absolutely destroyed him. Herndon allowed 3 hits and a walk; by the end of the inning, 5 more runs had score. Two of those were charged to Romero and the other three to Herndon.
The score was 11-3 going into the 8th inning and basically, this game was over. Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco all hit solo homers later, making the score 11-6, but that was the end of the scoring. The Phillies have not been hitting, now they are not pitching and even the fielding has been sloppy. In short, they are now worse than the Cubs. And that is very, very bad news.
This is just not the same Phillies team that fans have been used to seeing. They are not doing the little things right, as well as some big things, and they seem to have lost their Mojo. Maybe the Mojo was kidnapped along with Halladay?
Even more disturbing, Howard hit home runs in 3 out of 4 games of this Cubs series and the Phillies lost all three of those games. When even the Howard magic is not lighting a spark under this team, the Phillies are in big trouble.
The team travels to St. Louis next for a 4-game series with the Cardinals. It is just a guess, but I am willing to bet that facing Albert Pujols is not going to help the Phillies find their Mojo any faster. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
Why ESPN Broadcasts Are So Entertaining:
In the first inning alone, ESPN viewers were treated to these gems:
– Joe Morgan says that Placido Polanco “runs well from the right side.” As opposed to?? He only hits from the right side.
– As Carlos Ruiz ran to catch a pop fly in foul ground, Jon Miller called him “Soto,” as in, Cubs catcher, Geovany Soto.
– While Roy Halladay was pitching, Milled said, “There’s an inside pitch to Halladay.” Wow. The man is really talented if he can pitch to himself.
And then in the 5th inning, another classic from Morgan: “If he had gotten the ball there (1st base) quicker, he’d have gotten him out faster.” It is official: Joe Morgan is a GENIUS.