The Phillies get two hit by Dodgers’ pitching as a good effort by Brett Myers is wasted as the Phils get swept by the Dodgers, 3-1. The lost puts them in second place in the National League East, a game behind the Mets. The Dodgers would get their first run of the game in the second inning, as, with a runner on third, and one out, Nomar Garciaparra would hit a ground ball that would bounce out of Myers’ reach and be grabbed by Chase Utley, who would then proceed to throw out Garciaparra at first, as he knocks in James Loney, who has tripled earlier on a ball that would get past a diving Geoff Jenkins, who would try to make a diving catch instead of just grabbing it on a bounce and keeping it a single, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would add a second run in the sixth as Matt Kemp would hit a lead off home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, and only the second given up by Myers since coming back from the minors, to make it 2-0 LA. The Phillies would finally get a run across in the seventh as Ryan Howard would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier doubled and reach third on Utley’s ground out, pitcher to first, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 2-1. Werth’s double would be the Phils second and last hit of the night (the other one being Utley’s double in the fourth with two outs) as Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda would keep the bats quiet during his seven innings of work, walking none and striking out seven Phils. The Dodgers would get the run back in their half of the seventh, as, with a runner on second, and two men out, Casey Blake would hit a RBI single, scoring Russell Martin, who has earlier singled and then stole second, to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. That would be it as Hong-Chih Kuo would pitch two scoreless innings in relief, letting only one man get on base, via a walk, as he would record his first save of the year.
Brett Myers would take the lost in spite of a quality start in which he would go seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, as he struck out eight Dodgers, one of whom being Manny Ramierz, whom he would muzzle by having him go 0 for 3 with a walk, the only walk Myers would allow during the game. His record is now 5-10 with a 5.02 ERA. Scott Eyre would pitch a scorless inning, giving up one hit, walking one batter while striking out one. Hideki Kuroda would get the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up only one earned run on two hits while striking out seven. His record is now 7-8 with a 3.88 ERA. Hong-Chih Kuo would get his first save of the year, as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits.
The Phillies’ offense has just hit a new low as it was able to get only two hits last night in their lack of support of another excellent outing by one of their starters, this one provided by Brett Myers, his fourth quality start since his return from the minors to get his head straighten out. I am not going to state the obvious as it looks like this team is just plain lifeless. It is obvious that they need a spark to get them going, but they just don’t seem to know where to find it. If anyone is able to find a spark, please send it to Citizens Bank Park. PLEASE!!!!
The now second place Phillies (64-57) now head down to San Diego for a three games series with the Padres (47-74, 5th National League West). The game will be played tonight in PETCO Park, and will start at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will send to the mound the 45 years old veteran Jamie Moyer (10-7, 3.81), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on August 10, where he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Lifetime against the Padres, he is 7-7 with a 4.53 ERA in 17 starts, including a start this year on April 30, a lost, in which he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 lost. He will be looking to pitch his thirteenth consecutive quality start while trying to end the Phillies’ four game slide and keep them close to the Mets. His opponent will be veteran pitcher and Phillies’ killer Greg Maddux (6-8, 4.12), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on August 9, where he went six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Padres’ 8-3 win. He has faced the Phillies once already this year, on April 29, when they would at the time deny him his 350th win, as he would pitch six and a third innings in a losing effort, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, in the Padres’ 7-4 lost. He will be trying to revenge his earlier season lost while seeing if he can continue the Phillies’ present offensive struggles.
The now second place Phillies trail the Mets by a game, as New York prepares to play the Pirates in Pittsburgh for a weekend series. They are ahead of the Marlins by a game and a half as the Marlins get ready to visit the red hot Cubs in Miami. The Braves are nine games behind the Phillies, as they get ready to host the Giants. The Phillies hope that they can get some wins in San Diego, to stay close to the Mets, before coming back home for a nine games series that will begin this coming Tuesday with the Nationals.
Chad Durbin for the second straight night allows the Dodgers to tie the score in the eighth inning, before the bullpen finally loses the game in the ninth, this time to a Nomar Garciaparra walk-off home run, as the Phillies’ offense is for the second straight night put to sleep by the Dodgers’ bullpen in the middle innings, after taking what should’ve been an early commanding lead. The Phillies would score four runs in the first on a pair of two-run home runs. After Jayson Werth is rubbed of a home run to right by Andre Ethier for the second out of the inning, Chase Utley would get on base as he is hit by the pitch. Ryan Howard would follow with his league leading thirty-second home run of the year, scoring Utley, for a quick 2-0 lead. Pat Burrell would then get on base with a walk. Greg Dobbs would then follow with his fifth home run of the year, scoring Burrell, to make it 4-0 Phils. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, when, with the bases loaded, and one out, Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton would give up a walk to James Loney, scoring Ethier, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, would move to second on Jeff Kent’s single and move to third on the walk to Manny Ramirez, making it 4-1 Phillies. Blanton would finally get out of the inning by striking out Casey Blake and getting Garciaparra to fly out to right. The Phillies would add to their lead in the second when, with a man on and two outs, Werth would hit his sixteenth home run of the year, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 6-1 lead. That would be all the damage the Phillies would be able to do as the Dodgers’ bullpen, starting in the fourth inning, would give them only one more hit, four walks and a hit batter, while squashing threats in the fifth and sixth innings. In the meantime, the Dodgers would chip away at the Phillies’ lead. It would start in the third as Ramirez, who owns Blanton, would hit his twenty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Kent, who has earlier singled, to reduce the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. Then in the fourth, Blanton would give up another home run, this time a solo shot to Ethier, his twelfth home run of the year, cutting the lead down to 6-4. After Blanton gets out of the fifth inning without any further damage, he hands the ball over to Ryan Madson, who would proceed to get out six of the seven batters he would face in two innings of relief. Chad Durbin is then given the ball so that he can hand it over to Brad Lidge for a save opportunity in the ninth. Sadly, it didn’t happen as Durbin would end up blowing his fourth save of the year. The inning would start with a single by Russell Martin. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Juan Pierre, putting runners on first and second with nobody outs. Matt Kemp would then line out to Werth for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Ethier, would then hit the ball to Ryan Howard. Instead of throwing to Jimmy Rollins at second to force out Pierre, Howard would instead go to first, not confident that his throw would actually get to Rollins. That lack of confidence would prove costly as Durbin would then give up a two-run double to Kent, tying the score at six all. Durbin would then intentionally walk Ramirez, after getting behind in the count 3-0. That would be it for Durbin, as he is replaced by J.C. Romero. Romero would finally end the inning by getting Loney to ground into a force out, shortstop to third base. In the ninth, with one man out, Clay Condrey would throw a walk-off home run to Garciaparra, his sixth home run of the year, to give the Dodgers a 7-6 walk-off victory.
Joe Blanton gets a no-decision as he pitches five rough innings, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and three walks, while striking out six. Ryan Madson would pitch two strong innings of relief, as he gives up no runs on no hits, and strike out three, while one man reached base on a fielding error. Chad Durbin would blow his fourth save of the year and his second in this series, as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only hitter he would face. Clay Condrey would take the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit, Garciaparra’s walk-off home run. His record is now 3-3 with a 3.71 ERA. Brad Penny would also receive a no-decision as he only last three innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, a hit batter and two walks, while striking out four. Jason Johnson would pitch two and two-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up one hit and walking two, while striking out five. Joe Beimel would face only two batters, giving up a walk and hitting a batter. Chan Ho Park would pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up no hits. Jonathan Broxton would get the win as he pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, with two strikeouts. His record is now 3-3 with an ERA of 3.58.
Sigh. It’s becoming a broken record. Offense strikes early, gets nothing going in the middle innings and is unable to get a clutch hit when they do threathen to score. Now the bullpen is getting into the act, as it, or rather Chad Durbin, has now blown two straight save opportunities. Although the main culprit, as always, is the Phillies’ offense, we now add Ryan Howard’s sad defense as well, as his fear of maybe not throwing the ball straight to Jimmy Rollins for a force out causes him to instead go for the sure out at first. Listening to the broadcast crew, it would appear that Jay-Ro did not agree with Howard’s decision. And to be honest, neither do I, since if Ryan had thrown the ball to second and had gotten Juan Pierre out, then the next batter, Jeff Kent, would probably have knocked in only one run with his double. But we will never know for sure since that was not the actual result. It would seem that the offense needs someone or something to break them out of their collective funk, like the Dodgers getting Manny Ramirez have gotten them going. Too bad our cheapskate managment isn’t thinking like that. Double sigh.
The Phillies (64-56, T-1st) will play the final game of their four game set with the Dodgers (61-59, T-1st National League West) tonight. The game will be played at Dodgers Stadium and will start at 10:10 pm Eastern (7:10 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (5-9, 5.09), who is coming off a win against the Pirates on August 9, where he went seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. He has pitched rather well since coming back from his stint in the minors, going 2-0 in four starts, with a 2.10 ERA, while the Phils have gone 1-1 in his other two starts. Against the Dodgers in nine starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA. He will be looking to make it four good starts in a row while trying to salvage a win in the series for the Phils and keep them in at least a tie for first place in the East. His opponent will be Hiroki Kuroda (6-8, 4.02), who is coming off a no-decision against the Giants on August 9, where he pitched eight innings, giving up only one earned run on eight hits, in the Dodgers’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to help the Dodgers sweep the Phillies, while keeping them at least tied for first in the West.
The Phillies are now tied for first with the Mets as they defeated the Nationals for the second game in a row, while the two teams both lead the Marlins by a game and a half after the Marlins’ lost to the Cardinals. Their lead over the Braves is at nine games as the Braves were swept by the Cubs in a day/night doubleheader. The Phillies will be trying to salvage a win tonight in LA before they head on to San Diego where they will be facing some more tough pitching, hoping against hope that the offense will finally break out of its year long funk. Otherwise, they will be looking up to see themselves trailing the Mets and being just ahead of the fish in the standings.
The Phillies (64-55) will continue their four games series with the Dodgers (60-59, 2nd National League West) as they are now looking to play for a split in their series. The game will be played tonight at Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 10:10 pm Eastern (7:10 pm Pacific). The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.71), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on August 8, where he threw seven shutout innings, giving up only one hit, in the Phillies’ 2-0 extra-innings lost. Blanton will be looking to continue his present string of quality starts while hoping to give the Phillies their first win on the present road trip while trying to muzzle Manny Ramirez’s hot bat. The Dodgers will counter with Brad Penny (6-9, 5.66), who is coming off a victory over the Giants on August 8, after coming off the disabled list, where he went five innings, giving up just an earned run on one hit and walking three, in the Dodgers’ 6-2 win. He hopes to get his second straight win after returning from the dl which hoping that the Phillies’ bat will continue being inconsistent.
The Phillies hope that the offense will finally come alive, after teasing their fans all season with flashes of how destructive this team can be against other National League teams. Sadly, because of a lack of contact hitters within the bottom part of the line-up, and a seeming refusal, or rather, inability, to play situational/small ball style of baseball when the long ball approach doesn’t work against even the most mediocre of pitchers, seems to hurt the team when the starters, for the most part, have been able to consistantly keep opponents from scoring more than three to four runs a game. For most teams that would easily translate into a win, but with the Phils it usually translate into a lost as the offense is unable to string together several innings in which they can put men across the plate thanks to clutch hitting. That is bad enough when it happens to a pitcher like Adam Eaton, who doesn’t seem to be able to help himself with his pitching, its worth when it occurs when the team’s ace, Cole Hamels, is on the mound, who has now gone seven straight starts without being able to get win number 10. Something has got to give, and soon, else the Phillies will be looking at another post-season looking at the wrong side of the playoff picture.
The Phillies have a game lead on the Mets as they prepare to continue their visit with the Nationals in Washington, and a game and a half lead over the Marlins as the fish continue playing host to the Cardinals. The Phillies’ lead over the once mighty Braves is now at nine games as they have just lost the first game of a day/night doubleheader to the Cubs. The Phillies will be trying to get their first win on their road trip to California while hoping that their opponent won’t do any better themselves.
The Phillies waste a seven innings, one hit effort by Joe Blanton, a good effort by most of their bullpen, only to finally lose to the Pirates 2-0 in twelve innings because the offense would not be able to score a run in the last twenty-three innings. Phillies’ starter Blanton and Pirates’ starter Paul Maholm would both pitch seven innings of scoreless ball, with Blanton only giving up one hit while striking out seven Pirates and Maholm giving up five while striking out ten Phillie’ batters. Both teams’ bullpens would then take over, keeping both teams’ offenses from scoring any runs until the top of the twelfth. With Les Walrond still on the mound for his second inning of work, with a man on third, and with one out, he would give up a RBI double to Steve Pearce, scoring Ryan Doumit, who has earlier doubled and reached third on a ground out, to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. The Pirates would increase their lead to 2-0, when, with the bases loaded and two outs, Freddy Sanchez would hit an infield single, knocking in Pearce. In the bottom half of the ninth, the Phillies would threathen with runners on first and second and one out. But the threat would end when Chase Utley hit a fly ball to left field that would be caught by a sliding Brandon Moss who would then get up and throw to first to double up Shane Victorino, as the Phils would fail to score for the twenty-third straight inning.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he pitches seven scoreless innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out seven Bucos. Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge would combine to pitch three shut out innings, giving up only one hit, although Lidge would walk two batters to go along with the hit to load the bases, but he would get out of the inning with a foul pop out. Les Walrond would get the lost, as he goes one and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits and a walk. His record is now 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA. (All together now: WTH????) Clay Condrey would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. Paul Maholm would also get a no-decision as he also pitch seven scoreless innings while giving up five hits while striking out ten Phillies. Sean Burnett, Denny Bautista and John Grabow would together pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits. T.J. Beam would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking three. His record is now 1-1 with a ERA of 4.40. Craig Hansen would get the save, his third of the season and his first as a Pirate, as he goes an inning, giving up no runs on no hits while walking two.
Okay, it’s time to face the facts. This team seriously stinks!!!!! I mean, it’s one thing to lose to a team like the Marlins, the Mets, or the Cardinals, but it is another thing to lose to the likes of the Pirates, who are going nowhere fast. I mean, twenty-three innings since scoring a run? Are you f—king kidding me? What in the bleep is wrong with this team? What are they waiting for, an engraved invitation to score runs??? Fellows, I have news for you: the invite isn’t coming. You need to go out there and start playing this game for real. We all know you can score runs. You just need to actually do it. I don’t know, maybe you idiots need to stop pressing. Take a collective deep breath, and stop trying to force yourselves into scoring runs and just try to get it done. Or maybe this team just need to have its collective backsides kicked in real good. I don’t know about the rest of the fanbase but I am getting real sick and tired of constantly watching and hearing this team screw up, while hearing the broadcast team being able to figure out what they are doing wrong, Charlie Manuel wondering what its going to take to stop it, while the players themselves keep acting as if they are clueless and constantly saying, stay calm people, we’ll break out. Fellows its August, get it through your thick skulls, as long as you keep up with the Alfred E. Nueman bit, it isn’t going to occur. Get me???? Make things happen!!! Is it really that hard to do? I hope not. Oh, one last thing: STOP MAKING PITCHERS LOOK LIKE THEY’RE CY YOUNG!!!!!
The Phillies (62-53) will continue their three games weekend series with the Pirates (53-62, 5th National League Central) on Saturday night. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (4-9, 5.34), who is coming off a no-decision against the Cardinals on August 3, where he pitched six strong innings, giving up only two earned runs on four hits, in the Phillies’ 5-4 win. Lifetime against the Pirates, Myers is 2-4 with a 2.92 ERA. He will be trying for his three straight quality start since coming back from the minors, and his second straight win, while hoping that the Phillies’ offense will finally wake up. The Pirates will counter with Ian Snell (4-8, 6.14), who is coming off a bad start against the Cubs on August 3, where he got a no-decision as he would pitch only four innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, in the Pirates’ 8-5 lost. Lifetime against the Phillies he is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to see if he can keep the Phillies off of the scoreboard.
The Phillies are now leading the Mets by a game, and the Marlins by one and a half games as the two teams switched places in the division after the Mets defeated the Marlins. The Braves now trail the Phillies by eight and a half games as they once again defeat the Diamondbacks. The Phillies will be trying to bounce back after this hard lost while trying to find some way to score runs.
The Phillies (62-52) will be welcoming back to Philadelphia the once proud Pirates (52-62, 5th National League Central) for a three games weekend series. The first game of the series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12, 4.94), who is coming off his first victory as a Phil against the Cardinals on August 2, when he went seven very strong innings, giving up only an earned run on four hits, in the Phillies’ 2-1 win. This will be his first career start against the Bucos. He will be looking for his second win as a Phil, eating up the innings as he does so, while trying to continue Pittsburgh’s present woes. His opponent will be Pete Maholm (7-7, 3.95), who is coming off a lost to the Cubs on August 2, as he got bombed by the presently mighty Cubs, giving up five earned in six innings of work on eight hits, in the Pirates’ 5-1 lost. He has faced the Phillies earlier this year, pitching a complete game against them on April 27, giving up only one earned run on two hits, in the Pirates’ 5-1 win. He hopes to improve his present record while hoping that the Phillies’ batters won’t do any better against him this time around.
There are presently rumbling among both the fan blogs’ and Philly sports writers over the inconsistenty of the Phillies’ offense, an offense that for one or several days will score five or more runs without any problem, and the next can’t seem to be able to even buy a run, making the opposing starter look like Cy Young in the process, while forcing their own starters to be almost picture perfect with some very sad results. I don’t know if this goes back to hitting coach Milt Thompson or not, but it does go to how this team is built. Too much concentration on the long ball and too little concentration on having guys, especially those in the 6-7-8 holes in the battling line-up, being able to make contact to not just put the ball in play, but to follow the late Wee Willie Keeler’s maxim of hitting them where they ain’t, and unfortunately, the guys are hitting them right where the opposition fielders are. And, as I have stated here several times before, they are not doing enough small ball to try and put pressure on the opposition. (Exception being Shane Victorino, as every time he gets on, he puts on the pressure with his threat to steal a base, although I have seem to have noticed a lack of that happening right now. Maybe the home run bug has made him forget about just getting on base and making the defense nervous?) So, if it is Milt Thompson, I have this question: Is there anyone in the present organization who can make these guys do the little things, i.e., small ball, whether they like it or not, and can do it as soon as he shows up? If there isn’t such a person, then firing Thompson now won’t mean anything if they don’t have anyone waiting in the wings who can take charge as soon as he arrive and show these home run hitters the reality that small ball helps a lot more than home runs when it come to be a more consistent run scoring team.
The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins is a game and a half and two games over the Mets as the two teams prepare to face each other at Shea Stadium for a weekend series. The Phillies lead the Braves by nine and a half games as the Braves’ win over the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The Phillies will be trying to take advantage of the once powerful Pirates and try to come away with a sweep at best or a series win at worst while hoping that their two nearest rivals in the East will end up cancelling each other out by the time the weekend is over.
The Philles (61-51) continue their three games series with the Marlins (60-53) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (9-5, 4.59), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on July 31, where he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 8-4 win. He will be trying to rebound from his last start against the Marlins on July 19, where he got rocked for seven runs on ten hits in four and one third innings, in the Philles’ 9-5 lost. Lifetime against the fish, he is 1-1 with a ERA of 5.40 in three starts. He will be trying for his tenth win of the year, while trying to end the Phillies’ present losing streak at one game. The Marlins will oppose him with Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 3.18), who is coming off a victory over the Rockies on July 31, as he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 12-2 win. He will be trying to make it two wins in a row after coming off the disabled list, while trying to get the Marlins even closer to the Phils in the East.
The Phillies, if they want to win the Eastern Division, will have to start taking care of business, and that means that they will have to both win games at home and win games against their opponents in the East, and in this case that means defeating both the Marlins and the Mets, so far the only teams in the National League who they have losing records with. This team seriously need to start putting together better game plans against the other teams’ starters and against their regulars and most important of all, they will have to stick with those plans as best they can, otherwise they are going to be in for some very big trouble as September draws near. Among other things, they will need to start thinking better while they are at the plate, like they did when they faced the Braves two weekends ago to win that series at home. They need to get to thinking in terms of situational baseball. Now, while home runs are nice and dramatic, they mean squat if the team is down by several runs, and are having a hard time getting men on the basepaths to score when the homers are belted. The players need to, as I keep saying every so often, try to get on base with walks, play hit and run, steal bases, move the runners over, sacrifice themselves, hit the ball over to the right side with less than two men outs, hit more sacrifice flies, anything that’ll get runs across when the team is having a bad time trying to score. Of course, this goes back to Charlie Manuel and the team’s hitting coach. Hey, Charlie, you are not an American League manager anymore, start acting like a real National League manager, start putting pressure on your opponent with your team. As for the hitting coach, has he even tried to teach these guys how to play situational baseball? If he hasn’t that may explain a few things. Come on guys, you got brains. Start using them.
The Phillies lead the Marlins by a game and a half as they get ready to face each other tonight. The Mets trail by two games, as they meet the Padres in New York. The Braves trail by nine and a half games as they face the Giants in San Francisco, who they are presently trailing in an afternoon game. The Phillies will be trying to win the series with victories tonight and tomorrow afternoon, as they try to take control of their own destiny for the rest of the season.
Edit: The Braves are now trailing by ten games as they have just lost to the Giants, 3-2.
The Phillies go to Atlanta to end their present three cities, nine games, road trip, as they return to the city where they have had their last good series. The first place Phillies (43-39) will face the fourth place Braves (40-43) for the first of three night games to be played at Turner Field. Tonight’s game will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The floundering Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (7-3, 4.59), who is coming off a dominating victory over the Athletics on June 25, where he pitched a career high eight innings, giving up only four hits, as he shut down the Athletics, in the Phillies’ 4-0 victory. He has already faced the Braves twice this year, pitching very well in both starts. His 2008 record against Atlanta is 1-0 with a no-decision, in a game which the Phillies would also win, as he pitched a combined eleven and a third innings, giving up only five earned runs on ten hits. Behind him, the Phillies are 12-4, the best record among all Phillies’ staters. He will be shooting for his eighth win of the year, while trying to set the tone as the Phillies hope to regain their winning ways before heading into the All-Star break. The Braves will counter with rookie Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.24), who is coming off a lost against the Brew crew on June 24, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. In his first three career starts, he has pitched seventeen innings, giving up only eight earned runs on seventeen scattered hits. He will be trying for his second win of his young career, while hoping to become yet another young pitcher who will be a future pain in the Phillies’ collective side.
The Phillies’ offense heads into Atlanta, hoping to forget what has gone wrong during their last six series, and try to regain what they were doing right when they swept the Braves here back in early June. Charlie Manuel’s explosive offense will see if a return to more familiar pitching will lead to a return to what the players know that they are very capable of, beating other teams’ pitchers into submission with their bats. Of course, to do that they will have to be more patient at the plate, staying away from first, second and third pitch swinging, and general bad batting selection while standing in the batter’s box, as well as staying aggressive on the basepaths once they do get on base, so that they can support the generally good starting pitching that they have been getting during their recent slide, good pitching that would most times be racking up wins if not for the team’s present general offensive slump. Jimmy Rollins especially needs to start thinking while he is in the batter’s box, and forgo swinging at the first pitch thrown at him, since they seems to be leading him into making mostly easy outs, and keeping him off the bases, so that he is unable to cause problems for the opposing team. If there is one silver lining coming out of what has just happened during the last six series, the Phillies should now know where the holes are, and have already started to decide what they will have to do to plug them up if they expect to get into the playoffs and beyond. Now, if Pat Gillick will be willing to pull the trigger on some trades by the end of the month, if they are not able to fill the holes up with some good players from within their minor league system.
The Phillies are now leading the Marlins by a half-game as the fish defeated the Nationals in the first game of their three games set at home. The Mets are now trailing the Phillies by three and a half games, as they lost the first of their four games with the Redbirds in St. Louis. The Braves trail the Phillies by four games as they prepare for their three games series with the first place Phillies in Atlanta. The Phillies will be trying to hold onto first place, hoping to recatch the lightening that had lead to their sweep of the Braves, while hoping that the Braves won’t be able to get revenge for that early June sweep.