Very little happened in today’s Phillies – Padres match-up until the 5th inning. Both pitchers were dealing and hits were few and far between. Then Padres starter Jon Garland started the 5th off by hitting Jayson Werth with a pitch. Raul Ibanez moved him over with a grounder and a single from Shane Victorino allowed Werth to score.
With a run finally on the board, Phillies starter Joe Blanton got into trouble later that same inning. A walk and a couple of singles allowed tied the game. But Victorino showed his defensive skills, throwing Nick Hundley out at the plate trying to score.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian was all over this game; Victorino smacked a triple in the 7th to score Werth again, who had walked earlier. Then after an intentional walk to Carlos Ruiz, Mike Sweeney was put in to pinch hit for Blanton. Sweeney hit a ground ball that was almost a double play. Instead, he legged it out and Ruiz barreled into 2nd with a take-out slide; Sweeney was safe and Victorino scored.
The Padres paid little attention to Sweeney on first as he is not known for speed. As a result, with a little prodding from first base coach Davey Lopes, Sweeney swiped his first bag in 4 years. Sweeney’s enthusiasm and hustle are just what this team needs. He fits in very well with the Phillies club.
Blanton ended his outing with just one run allowed in 6 innings; it was a great effort from Blanton. After Blanton was pulled in the 7th, the 3-1 game was turned over to the Phillies bullpen. Jose Contreras pitched a perfect 7th and Ryan Madson followed suit in the 8th. You know what that means, right? You guessed it….Brad Lidge time. (Gulp!)
After a horrible outing yesterday where Lidge balked in the tying run with 2 outs in the 9th, tonight was a different story. With a strike-out, a pop-up and a fly ball, Lidge closed the game successfully, handing the Phillies a 3-1 win.
Game 3 with the Padres begins at 4:05pm tomorrow afternoon. Cole Hamels will pitch and hopefully, put a 3-game sweep of the Padres in the bag.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
While it was only a 2-game win streak, it was nice while it lasted. The Phillies lost by a score of 5-6 to the Padres today in 10 innings. Placido Polanco made a huge blunder in the 9th inning, getting thrown out at third base, which was followed by a Ryan Howard single that would have scored him to tie the game. However, this loss is not his fault. Polly had 3 hits in the game, 2 RBI and until that moment, was the star of the game. Howard also had 2 hits and 3 RBI.
The biggest mistake in this game in my opinion was when Charlie Manuel sent Joe Blanton back out to pitch the 5th inning. Blanton had already given up 4 runs on 10 hits in just 4 innings and looked like he may self-destruct at any moment. Chad Durbin was already warming up in the pen during the 4th and would have been ready to go. Sure enough, Blanton goes back out, throws one pitch and Nick Hundley shot it right over the left field wall. That one run was the difference in the game.
Blanton has been bad, or Blah-anton-like, since coming off the DL. He now has a 1-4 record with 2 no decisions and a 6.07 ERA. He has not allowed less than 3 earned runs in ANY start this year and has made it through 7 innings only 2 times. The first 5 starts or so looking like he was just behind in his conditioning after returning from the injury. But he should be on track by now and clearly is not. If he is still hurt, the Phillies had better figure it out quick.
Another mystery is Chase Utley; he has not hit a home run since May 20th and has just 6 hits in his last 12 games. While we all know Utley will never admit to being hurt, maybe it is time for someone to sneak up behind him with a syringe, knock him unconscious and force him through and MRI machine? Because this is an unprecedented slump for Utley who hit better in 2008 with a bum hip.
Jayson Werth has been just as bad with 3 hits in 10 games. He has 16 strike outs in those same 10 games, with 3 tonight. The biggest one came with 2 men on base in the 10th to end the game. Ok, run him through the MRI too; it couldn’t hurt.
The bench players have been awful as well. Here are the batting averages: Greg Dobbs, .145; Ross Gload, .200; Ben Francisco, .233. I do not want to hear the excuse about lack of playing time anymore. Other pinch hitters and bench guys on other teams are getting it done, so why aren’t the Phils? Travis Ishikawa of the Giants is 5 for 10 in pinch hits. Even former Phillies, Wes Helms is batting .277 for the Marlins. What is up with the Phillies bench?
This was a frustrating loss as the Phillies finally scored some runs despite various slumps, but the pitching did not hold. They have one more game with the Padres tomorrow night at 7:05pm with a well rested Cole Hamels on the mound as his last outing was rain-shortened.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography