Tagged: Offensive problems

The Phillies lose their sixth straight series as the bats go back to sleep.

The Phillies have lost their sixth straight series as they waste another good start by Jamie Moyer as they lose to the Rangers, 5-1. The Rangers would take a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Michael Young would hit a RBI ground out, short to first, scoring Ian Kinsler, who has earlier tripled. They would add a second run in the second, as rookie Chris Davis would hit his second career home run, to make it 2-0 Rangers. In the third, the Rangers would increase their lead to 3-0, as Josh Hamilton would single in Young, who has earlier doubled. While Moyer would keep the Rangers off of the scoreboard after that inning, the Rangers’ starter, rookie Eric Hurley, would keep the Phillies’ offense silent, despite some of the batters actually getting some deep counts against him. The Phillies would finally get a run on the board as Ryan Howard would hit a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier doubled, to make it 3-1 Rangers. The Rangers would then put the game away in the eight, as Ramon Vazquez would get an RBI single, scoring Marlon Byrd, who has earlier doubled, to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. The Rangers would score their final run on a ground out by Young, scoring Max Ramirez, who has earlier been hit by the pitch. C.J. Wilson would then come in the ninth for a quick 1-2-3 inning to end the ballgame.

Jamie Moyer would take the lost in spite of keeping the Phillies in the game, as he goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and striking out six batters. His record is now 7-6 with a 4.13 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two and one third innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Eric Hurley would get his first career victory, as he would also go five and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits. His record is now 1-1 with a ERA of 3.57. Jamey Wright, Eddie Guardado and C.J. Wilson would combine for three and one third innings of hitless ball.

The Phillies’ offense, after a short revival, would go back to sleep, in spite of an early attempt to stay patient inside the batter’s box against the rookie Hurley. Gary Matthews, the ex-Phil, and a present-day Phillies’ Announcer, would offer one of the reasons for the batters’ present slump. The players are presently hitting the ball with the end of the bat, instead of the bat’s sweet spot, near the middle, which is leading to weak outs. Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that it is really starting to get on my nerves that the batters’ are not doing anything to help correct the problem. Sounds to me like Charlie Manuel may need to take these guys behind close doors and read them the riot act to get them thinking about what they are doing wrong. Well, one can only hope, right? *Sigh*

The Phillies (44-39) have finally finished their involvement in interleague play, with a 4-11 record, losing all five series. They will now have the day off, which they will hopefully use to get their heads screwed back on before they begin a three games series with the Braves in Hot-lanta, and then come home for a four games Independence Day weekend series with the Mets.

With the lost, the Phillies’ lead in the East drop down once again to one full game as the Marlins defeat the Diamondbacks. The Mets are now back in third place, trailing the floundering Phillies by three games as they defeat the Yankees. The Braves now trail the Phillies by four games as they lose to the Blue Jays in Toronto. The Phillies will now try to regroup and get back on the winning track.

The Phillies fall to the Rangers, 8-7, as Myers self-destruct after being given a four run lead.

The Phillies have now lost two games in a row as Brett Myers pitches himself out of the starting rotation after being unable to get anyone out in the bottom of the third inning as the Phillies lose to the lowly Rangers, 8-7. The Rangers would take the lead in the first as Ian Kinsler hits a solo home run off of Myers’ second pitch, his thirteenth home run of the season, to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Myers would seem to have settle down after that, while the Phillies were able to score some runs off of Rangers’ starter, Kason Gabber, in the top of the third. The inning would begin with Gabber being unable to find the strike zone, as he walks Eric Bruntlett. Jayson Werth would then get on base via a fielding error by Gabber, which would send Bruntlett to second base. Chase Utley would then get the second walk of the inning, loading the bases. Jimmy Rollins then follows with a ground out, shortstop to first, which would score Bruntlett, tying the ballgame at one apiece, while moving both Werth and Utley up a base. Pat Burrell is then intentionally walked by Gabber to reload the bases for him to face Ryan Howard. Howard would go down swinging for out number two. Pedro Feliz would then pick him out by hitting a grand slammer off of Gabber, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Werth, Utley and Burrell, while giving the Phillies what should have been a lights out 5-1 lead. The Phillies’ inning would then end with Shane Victorino grounding out. After being given such a big lead, most pitchers would then buckle down and go after the hitters. But that did not happen with Brett “I don’t like leads” Myers, as he would proceed to have a melt down on the mound in the bottom half of the third. Kinsler would greet him with a double, soon to be followed by an infield single for Michael Young. Josh Hamilton would then get an infield single off of Myers’ glove, loading the bases, with nobody out. Myers would then proceed to walk Milton Bradley, scoring Kinsler, and cutting the Phils’ lead down to 5-2. A second straight walk to David Murphy, which would score Hamilton with the Rangers’ third run of the night, would be enough for Charlie Manuel to watch as he comes out to replace a struggling Myers with Clay Condrey, and leave the bases loaded, as the Phillies now lead 5-3. Condrey would get Marlon Byrd to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to get two quick outs, while Hamilton scores on the play, to cut the lead down to 5-4 Phillies, with a runner on third, giving the Phils a chance to get out of the inning with the lead. But it was not to be, as Condrey would give up a two-run home run to rookie Chris Davis, the first home run of his career, to give the lead back to the Rangers, 6-5. The inning would finally end with Jarrod Saltalamacchia lining out to left. In the fourth, the Phillies would tie the game, as Chris Coste hits a lead off home run, his seventh of the year. The Rangers would retake the lead in the fifth, when, with one out, Bradley would hit a home run off of the foul pole for his sixteenth home run of the year. At this point, both teams’ bullpens would keep the game close until the bottom of the eighth, when, with Rudy Seanez pitching in relief of J.C. Romero, he would give up a RBI sacrifice fly to Hamilton, scoring Kinsler, who has earlier walked, and has moved to third on Young’s double, giving the Rangers an 8-6 lead. That would be the different, as, with the Rangers’ closer C.J. Wilson pitching in the ninth, he would give up a solo home run to Werth, leading off the inning, to make it an 8-7 Rangers’ lead. After getting the next two Phils’ batters out, Wilson would give up a double to Burrell and then a single to Howard, which moved pinch runner Geoff Jenkins to third, who was held there by the third base coach, instead of taking a chance of sending him home, since the ball has rolled off of shortstop Young’s glove, to tie the game. Instead, Wilson would finally end the game by getting Greg Dobbs to ground out, recording his seventeenth save of the year.

Brett Myers gets a no-decision as he self-destructs on the mound after pitching only two innings plus five batters, giving up five earned runs on five hits and walking two batters, which would end up being costly. This performance would appear to have finally taken Myers out of the starting rotation as Manuel has finally lost his patience with him. The questions now are, what are the Phillies going to do with Myers and how will this affect both the rotation and the bullpen? Clay Condrey would take the lost as he pitches two and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits. His record is now 1-1 with a ERA of 4.36. Ryan Madson would go an inning and a third, giving up only one hit. J.C. Romero woud follow him with a scoreless, hitting inning. Rudy Seanez would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Kason Gabbard would also pitch a no-decision, as he pitches only three and a third inning, giving up six runs, only one of which would be earned, on only four hits. Josh Rupe would get the win as he goes two and a third innings, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA. Frank Francisco would pitch a scoreless, hitless inning and a third. Eddie Guardado would pitch a hittless, scoreless inning as well. C.J. Wilson would pitch the ninth, giving up a run on three hits, recording his seventeenth save of the year.

The Phillies’ offense, inspite of actually scoring some runs, is still mired in its collective slump, as almost all of their runs would come in via the long ball, as the batters are still swinging at the pitcher’s junk, thus getting themselves out. To this problem is now added the confusion that will be caused by Myers’ final meltdown on the mound in the third inning after being given a four run lead thanks to Feliz’s earlier grand slam. No one at this point knows what is going on inside Myers’ head, as Manuel will now have to decide who to use in place of Myers for his upcoming start against the Braves in Atlanta next week, as well as for him to determine what to do now with both the rotation and the bullpen in general since it is obvious that unless the Phillies can bring up someone from within their farm system, the replacement starter will have to come from the bullpen (probably Chad Durbin), and no one knows if Myers will be working from within the bullpen, and how that will affect the rest of the National League leading bullpen. Thank you Brett Myers for creating this situation. I hope that you are proud of yourself.

The final interleague series between the Phillies (43-38) and the Rangers (41-40, 3rd American League West) will continue in Arlington, at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The game will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies will be sending to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (7-5, 3.27) to end their present slide. He is coming off a recent lost against the Angels on June 22, as he would pitch seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’  3-2 lost. He will be trying once again for his eighth victory while trying to avoid getting hit in this hitters’ friendly park. He will be counter by former-Phil Vicente Padilla (10-3, 3.74), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 22, as he pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Rangers’ 5-3 win. This will be his first start against his former team. He will be trying to defeat his former ballclub, while hoping that last night’s game was not a possible precurser to a Phillies’ batting resurgence.

With the lost, the Phillies’ lead drop to a game over the Marlins as the fish defeated the Diamondbacks. The Braves are now trailing the Phillies by three game, back in a tie for third place, as they defeated the Blue Jays. The Mets are also three games behind the Phillies, as they spilt their doubleheader with the Yankees, dropping the night cap at Shea Stadium. The Phillies will once again try to break out of their collective team hitting slump and try to put some distance between them and the rest of the East before their day off on Monday.

The Phils go to Arlington, Texas to meet the Rangers, hoping to finally end their batting woes.

The Phillies (43-37) continue their nine games, three cities, road trip, with a weekend interleague play series against the Texas Rangers (40-40, 3rd American League West) in Arlington, Texas. The first game of the series will be played at Rangers Park in Arlington, and will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.51), who has just come off a lost against the Angels on June 21, where he would pitch six innings, giving up four earned on six hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 lost. Myers has, along with several bad starts, been hurt mainly by the long balls this year, of which he has so far given up twenty-three. He has lost three of his last four starts, while the fourth one was also lost by the Phillies, in which he has been tagged for eight four-baggers in the last three. If he is going to win another game, he is going to have to not just throw more non-fastballs, he’ll need to stop throwing pitches into the opposing batters’ hit zone to avoid giving up any more gopher balls. He will be trying to get his fourth win of the year, while hoping that it won’t end up being another fiasco. The Rangers will oppose him with Kason Gabbard (2-3, 4.96), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 21, where he would pitch five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 13-3 rout. He will be trying to even his record as he face the Phillies for the first time in his career.

The Phillies’ offense, which has now lost five straight series will now be facing an American League team that can not be considered an elite ball club. The players should thus take this opportunity to try and be more patient at the plate, while staying aggressive on the base paths once they get on, to help shake things up. The players need to stop being a ballclub that’ll swing at anything that is thrown at them, as well as stop swinging at the first balls that are thrown at them during their individual at bats (That especially means you, Jimmy.). And they’ll need to be especially patient when they have men in scoring position. It would help the club if they can get up to batter’s box with a runner on either second or third and not end up either popping up or striking out. They’d been doing too much of that lately, and quite frankly, it needs to stop before it can get any worst. They should thanks their lucky stars that the rest of the division is at the moment playing just as lousy as they are, but they will need to get their present problems sorted out before they begin their three games series in Atlanta next Tuesday, as I am sure that the Braves will be wanting to get even with the Phils for that earlier sweep at their home ball park.

Speaking of the National League East, the Phillies presently have a two games lead over the Marlins, who will be facing the Diamondbacks for a three games set in Miami. The Mets trail them by three and a half games, as they take the subway for a four games series with the Yankees, including a day/night doubleheader today that will be played at both stadiums, the first of which has the Mets trailing the Bronx Bombers. The Braves trail the Phillies by four games, as they go to Toronto, Canada, to start a three games series with the Blue Jays. The Phillies hope that they can put some distance between themselves and the rest of the East before they once again play against fellow National League teams.

Edit: The Mets are now trailing the Phillies by three games as they defeat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium for the first half of a double header.

Kendrick throws eight shutout innings as the Phils finally end long losing streak.

Behind the four hit, shutout pitching of Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies are able to finally end their longest losing streak of the season at six games as they defeat the A’s, 4-0. The Phillies would score their first run in the top of first, when, with two men on base, and one out, Pat Burrell would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jayson Werth, who first got on base with a walk, moved to second on Chase Utley’s bloop single and then was part of a double steal which got him to third, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fourth when Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI triple off of both the left field wall and the back of A’s left fielder Jack Cust, which would score Burrell, who has earlier singled, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Feliz would then score on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coste, making it 3-0 Phillies. The Phillies would score their final run in the sixth, when with two outs and a runner on first, Coste would hit a RBI single on a ball that was misplayed by A’s center fielder Carlos Gonzalez, allowing Shane Victorino, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, to score, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead. That would turn out to be more than enough runs for Kyle Kendrick to work with, as he would go eight innings, giving up only four scattered hits to the A’s, and only getting into trouble in the eighth inning, after the Phillies have earlier blown a bases loaded, no body out, situation that could’ve blown the game wide open, in their half of the inning. After giving up a single to Kurt Suzuki and then getting Gonzalez to fly out to center, Kendrick would give up a single to Daric Barton, putting runners on first and second with one out. After a conference with Charlie Manuel, Kendrick would stay in the game, and unlike Moyer on Tuesday night, Kendrick would get out of the jam by striking out Mark Ellis on a called third strike and then getting Ryan Sweeney to ground out pitcher to first. J.C. Romero would then come in the ninth to redeem himself as he would quickly dispose of the A’s to end the ballgame.

Kyle Kendrick would get the win, as he pitches a brilliant game, going eight innings for the first time in his career, giving up no runs on four hits, striking out four and walking only one A. His record is now 7-3 with a 4.59 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits. Greg Smith would get the lost as he is only able to go five and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 4-6 with an ERA of 3.69. Chad Gaudin would go one and a third shut out innings, giving up two hits. Santiago Casilla would go an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. Andrew Brown would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits.

Speaking of Kendrick’s performance, Phillies Phollowers has noted in her post yesterday that Kyle Kendrick has been seen working on his pitches with the 45-years old veteran Jamie Moyer, who yesterday had the A’s stymied for most of the game until he finally ran out of gas in the seventh. Could it be possible that the old vet has given Kendrick some pitching tips and that Kendrick actually listened to him? If that does turn out to be the case, maybe Kendrick should start listening to him more. Heck, maybe Moyer should start talking to Myers? It certainly couldn’t hurt at this point.

The Phils’ offense was finally able to score more than two runs in a game for the first time since June 18. But they still blew several scoring opportunities when they could have scored even more runs, the biggest one coming in the eighth inning. With Casilla pitching in relief, Feliz would greet him with a single, his second hit of the night. Victorino would then get on base via a fielding error by shortstop Bobby Crosby, who threw away the ball as he attempted to force out Feliz, who would end up on third, giving the Phillies runners on the corners with nobody out. Victornio, with Coste batting, would then steal second, his nineteenth of the season, to give the Phillies two runners in scoring position. Coste then hits a grounder to the pitcher Casilla. After looking over to third and seeing that Feliz wasn’t going anywhere, Casilla would turn around to get ready to throw to first, only to see that Coste was already there, loading the bases. But, the Phillies would soon run themselves out of a possible big inning, as Eric Bruntlett would hit a grounder to the shortstop Crosby. This time, Crosby would be able to throw Feliz out at home, with Suzuki touching home plate, as Feliz did not immediately move towards home upon contact, while the others would move up a base, leaving the bases still loaded. The next batter, Werth, would then strike out swinging. Utley would then step up to the plate, the bases still loaded and two outs, already having a four hits night, breaking out of his personal slump with two singles, a double and a triple. But, he is still in a slump with runners in scoring position, as, on a 2-1 count, he lines out to Crosby, leaving the bases loaded. The Phillies’ offense still seem to have a problem bringing in men in scoring position, although some aggressive base running in the first would get their first run home as Werth would score on Burrell’s short sac fly, as his running for home would force center fielder Gonzalez to make an offline throw to home plate, thus allowing Werth to score. In the third, with two outs and with Utley on second via a double, his second hit of the night, Utley would be sent home on Jimmy Rollins’ single to right. A strike to home plate by Sweeney would keep Utley from scoring what would have been the Phillies’ second run as he is tagged out by Suzuki. The Phillies are being a bit more aggressive in the field, but the batters still need to discipline themselves if they are either going to get runners home with less than two outs, or with two men out, if they are going to stay in front in the East.

The final game of this three games interleague play series will be an afternoon game at McAfee Coliseum. The game will start at 3:35 pm Eastern (12:35 pm Pacific). The Phillies (45-36) will send to the mound Adam Eaton (2-5, 4.94), who is coming off an awful start against the Angels on June 20, where he would only go five innings, getting roughed up for six runs on twelve hits in the Phillies’ 7-1 lost. Before that, he have had five straight quality starts, although going 2-2 with a no-decision, which was won by the Phillies, during that stretch. Lifetime against the A’s he is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA. He will be trying to get his third victory while trying to continue the recent strings of good starts by the Phillies’ starters. The Athletics (42-35, 2nd American League West) will counter with Rich Harden (4-0, 2.44), who is coming off a no-decision against Florida on June 20, where he would go five and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on five hits, in the A’s 7-6 win. He has won his previous start against the Giants on June 14, going six scoreless innings, while giving up only one hit, in the A’s 4-0 win. He will be trying to get his fifth win, while hoping that he can keep the Phillies from regaining their potentcy.

The win puts the Phillies’ lead back to two games as the Marlins had earlier been crushed by the Rays, and keep their leads over the Mets and the Braves at four and four and half games respectively, as both teams have won their games. The Phillies will be trying to make it two wins in a row, as the offense tries to see if they can finally start driving in men in scoring position, before they head on to Texas to meet the Rangers for a weekend series.

The Phillies are three hit by A’s pitching as they lose, 5-0.

Just hours after shutting down the A’s, the Phillies’ offense is in turn shut down by the combine pitching of A’s starter Rich Harden and reliever Alan Embree, who together would give up only three hits and a walk, while striking out eleven, as they are shutout, 5-0. The A’s would take the lead in the first inning as Adam Eaton would give up a RBI double to Ryan Sweeney, scoring Mark Ellis, who has earlier walked, making it 1-0 A’s. A batter later, Sweeney would score on a RBI single to Jack Cust, just beating Carlos Ruiz’s tag, after having slid past home plate, giving the A’s a 2-0 lead. Sweeney would be taken out of the game because of a possible injury caused by the slide. The game would then becomes a pitchers’ duel between Eaton and Harden for the next six innings, as Eaton would give up only one more run, on Carlos Gonzalez’s second home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth, which would make it 3-0 A’s, while Harden would flirt with a no-hitter until the fifth, when Shane Victorino would get a two-out single and would later get a second single off of Harden in the eighth, but the Phils would otherwise be unable to get anything started against him. The A’s would then put it away in the eighth as they score two runs off of Phils’ reliever Tom Gordon. The first run would come in on a RBI double by Jack Hannahan, knocking in Eric Chavez, who has earlier walked, to make it 4-0 A’s. The final run would come in on a RBI single by Gonzalez, who would score Hannahan, as Victornio would commit a fielding error as he tries to bare hand the ball so that he could make a throw to the plate to try and nail Hannahan. But Victorino would then redeem himself as he throws out Gonzalez as he tries to move up to second on the error, tagged out by Chase Utley. The Phillies would attempt to score in the ninth, as, with two outs, Pat Burrell would get to third base with a triple. But it would be all for naught as Ryan Howard would then ground out to first for the game’s final out.

Adam Eaton took the lost in spite of performing a quality start, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 4.86 ERA. Tom Gordon would pitch an inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits. Rich Harden would get the win as he shut down the Phillies for eight innings, giving up only two hits while striking out eleven. His record is now 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA. Alan Embree would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up just one hit.

The Phillies’ offense went right back to where they’d left off on Tuesday night, not doing anything right, only this time being worst as they didn’t really give themselves any time to wear down the A’s starter, as they constantly went after either his first, second or third offering. This seriously has got to stop, because it’s making the batters look stupid and it is allowing the opposing team’s pitchers to throw them whatever junk they want to, just as long at they know that the Phillies’ batters will swing at it. Come on guys, start practicing patience while standing inside the batter’s box again. SERIOUSLY!!!!

The Phillies (43-37) will now go to Arlington Texas, for a three games weekend series with the Texas Rangers (40-39, 3rd American League West). The first game of the three games set will be played in Rangers Park in Arlington, with a start time of 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.51), who is coming off a recent lost to the Angels on June 21, as he is once again hurt by the long ball as he would go seven and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 lost. Myers will be trying to see if he can pitch another good game while not giving up any more gopher balls, while hoping that the offense’s bats will finaly wake up in the Texas heat. His opponent will be Kason Gabbard (2-3, 4.96), who is coming off his second win of the year against the Nationals on Jnne 21, as he goes five and one third innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 13-3 win. He will be trying to even his record, while hoping that the Phillies’ bats will continue to stay cold.

The first place Phillies are still leading the East by two games, as the Marlins were swept by the Rays, losing 6-1. Their leads over the Mets and the Braves are now three and a half and four games respectively thanks to their lost to the A’s. As they go to Texas to face the Rangers, the Marlins will begin a three games series with the Diamondbacks in Miami, while the Mets will face the New York Yankees, at Yankee Stadium for one game and Shea Stadium for three, for a four games series, including a day/night doubleheader at both stadiums tomorrow night, and the Braves will be meeting the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Canada for a three games series. The Phillies will be hoping that they can bounce back and take out their present frustrations on the Rangers, before they take the day off on Monday, and then start a three games set with the Braves in Hot-lanta.

The offense is still sluggish as the Phillies have now lost six in a row.

The Phillies wasted a good effort by Jamie Moyer as the offense once again let the team down as they lost their sixth straight game. For the first six innings of the game, Moyer and A’s starter Joe Blanton would be involved in a pitchers’ duel, with Moyer only giving up one hit during that time, a lead-off single in the first inning to Kurt Suzuki, who would later by wiped out in a 3-6-3 double play by Ryan Sweeney, and striking out nine A’s, striking out the side twice, while Blanton would give up only two hits, one of which was Pat Burrell’s nineteenth home run of the year, a solo shot in the fourth inning, which gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Things would change in the seventh when the Phillies would get their first two men on base, Burrell via a walk and Jayson Werth via a single. But, things would then go flat as Geoff Jenkins would fly out to left, swinging on the first pitch, for the first out of the inning. Pedro Feliz would then single to right, but the third base coach, not taking a chance on getting Burrell thrown out at the plate, holds him up at third base to load the bases. This move would soon come back to haunt the Phillies as Carlos Ruiz, with a 2-1 count, would hit into a twin killing, third to first, with the third baseman touching third base first before throwing to first. The Phillies being unable to capitalize in their half of the inning would turn out to be a momentum changer, as, with Moyer still pitching, Sweeney would start off the A’s half of the seventh with a single. One out later, Bobby Crosby would get a pop single, on a ball that was misplayed by Shane Victorino and would drop in front of him, moving Sweeney to second. After Charlie Manuel decides to leave Moyer in the game, despite the fact that Chad Durbin was ready to go, Moyer would give up a three-run home run to Emil Brown, his sixth home run of the year, scoring both Sweeney and Crosby, and giving the A’s the lead, 3-1. After getting the second out and then giving up a ground rule double, which might have ended up being worst if it has not bounced into the stands, to Carlos Gonzalez, Manuel would come out and finally replace an out of gas Moyer with Durbin, who would then strike out Donnie Murphy to end the inning. In the eighth, the Phils would come back to cut the lead to 3-2, as, with Victorino on second, after getting on base with a single and then stealing second, he would score on a RBI single by Ryan Howard. Although Howard would later get to second base on a pass ball charged to Suzuki, Burrell would leave him there as he strikes out. The A’s would then deliver the coup de grace in the bottom of the inning, as with two out, J.C. Romero would walk Sweeney and then give up a two-run home run to Jack Cust, Cust’s twelfth home run of the year, to make it 5-2 A’s. That would be it as Huston Street would come in to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth to record his fourteenth save of the year.

Jamie Moyer would take the lost, although pitching a very good game until the disasterous seventh. He would go six and two-thirds inning, giving up only three runs on five hits, while striking out nine A’s. His record is now 7-5 with a 4.09 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning in relief, striking out the only man he would face. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up two earned runs on only one hit, while walking one and striking out one. Ryan Madson would go a third of an inning, striking out the only A that he would face. Joe Blanton would get the win, as he pitches seven innings, giving up only one earned run on four hits. His record is now 4-10 with an ERA of 4.58. Alan Embree would pitch an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits. Huston Street would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth as he get his fourteenth save of the season.

It is now official, the offense presently stinks, and even they are starting to realize it, as they would acknowledge in an article posted on Phillies.com about the game. Even the manager seems to be noticing that the guys are right now doing everything wrong at the plate, and those things includes, “…guys not hitting, swinging bad, swinging at balls in the dirt, chasing balls over their heads, it looks like they’ve never seen a baseball….” and those things are going to keep hurting this team until the batters finally get it into their thick skulls that they should be trying to meet the ball, and not trying to hit home runs everytime they get up to the plate, with the situations that occurred in the first and seventh innings being perfect examples of what is presently wrong with this team. Especially the seventh, when Jenkins, who should have been up there trying to move the runners over into scoring position, which might have required him taking a pitch or two until he saw something which he was sure he could hit towards the right side of the infield and get Burrell and Werth over to third and second, instead swings at the first pitch and flies out, moving no one. This would come back to hurt the Phils, as I am sure that Feliz’s single would’ve scored both Burrell and Werth from second and third, and would instead load the bases, as the Phils’ third base coach refuses to send Burrell home, afraid that he might have been cut down at home by a throw from Sweeney. Me, I’d made the attempt. Why? To shake things up a bit. There’s a difference between being aggressive and being passive. Stopping Burrell at third was being passive, and is part of the reason that the Phils are mired in their present slide. If the third base coach had been aggressive, it would have taken a real good throw to home to get Burrell thrown out. Sure, Burrell isn’t as fast as Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino, his running towards home would’ve still forced Sweeney to have to throw an almost perfect strike to get him out at home, and who know what would’ve happened if the throw was anything but a perfect strike. But, since he didn’t send Burrell home, it’s all a very moot point. Hopefully, the players’ own realization that they are stinking up the place might just get them to do something to reverse it before the situation can get any worst.

The series between the Phillies (42-36) and the Athletics (42-34, 2nd American League West) continues with a night game at McAfee Coliseum. The game will start at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will send up Kyle Kendrick (6-3, 5.06) to see if he can stop their slide before it can get any worst. He is coming off an awful start against the BoSox on June 18, where he would only pitch three innings, as he gave up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phils’ 7-4 lost. He will be trying to return to his winning ways, while, as mentioned earlier, trying to put a stop to the Phils’ swoon. The A’s will counter with Greg Smith (4-5, 3.51), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on June 19, where he would only go five innings, giving up an earned run on three hits, in the A’s 2-1 lost. He will be trying to improve his record, while at the same time seeing if he can adds to the Phillies’ present offensive woes.

The Phillies are still leading by one, four and four and a half games over the Marlins, Mets and Braves respectively, as all three teams lost their games while the Phils were unable to take advantage of it. The Phillies will be trying to end their present slump, which is a team effort, and stop wasting some good efforts that they have recently been getting from their starters.

On the north side of the Bay, the Phillies visit the A’s as they try to end their losing streak.

Presently mired in a five game losing streak, the first place Phillies (42-35) travels to Oakland to play  the Athletics (41-34, 2nd American League West) for a three games interleague play series. The first game of the series will be played tonight in McAfee Coliseum at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will be sending Jamie Moyer (7-4, 4.09) to the mound, as he comes off a long start against the BoSox on June 17, where he would go only five innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Phillies’ 3-0 lost. Lifetime against the A’s, he is 17-15, including two shutouts, with an ERA of 4.46. He is looking to regain the team’s lead in victory while trying to see if he can help pitch the Phillies out of their present swoon. His opponent will be Joe Blanton (3-10, 4.81), who is coming off his fourth straight lost, this time at the hands of the Diamondbacks on June 18, where he would only go three innings, giving up eight earned runs on seven hits, in the Athletics’ 11-1 lost. In sixteen starts for the A’s, they are 4-12 behind him. He will be trying to end his personal losing streak while trying to see if he can keep the Phillies’ offense from being able to restart its engine.

During their last five games, the Phillies’ offense has been placed in neutral while starting pitching has allowed the opposing team to score first. In fact, in all of their last nine loses, the Phillies have trailed their opponent right from the start, and, for the most part, had been unable to catch up, or when they do catch up, their pitching will sadly give the lead back. The Phils’ sputtering offense may have to resort to playing small ball for a while, getting away from their homering always and often style, if they intend to win games again. And the offense will also have to start acting a whole lot smarter while they are each standing inside the batter’s box. No more swinging at the first pitch, whether its a fastball or not, no more swinging at pitches that are either high or low, or out of the strike zone altogether (I mean especially you Howard), try to stay patient inside the batter box, start doing some hit and run when either Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino is on base, steal more bases, find ways to move the runners into scoring position, be willing to sacrifice themselves so that the team can win ballgames. But most of all, try to relax and just be patient while in the batter’s box. They will also have to stop worrying about whether they can stack up with the American League elite; Guys, just go out there, stay within your own comfort zone, and prove to yourselves that you are able to stay up with the best by just doing it. Once you do, I’m sure things will turn around.

The Phillies have a one game lead over the Marlins who also had yesterday off. Their lead over the Mets had increased to four games as the Mets lost their game last night to the Mariners, while the Braves find themselves behind the Phillies by four and a half games after their lost to the Brew crew. As the Phillies begin the first game of their three cities nine games road trip, the Marlins will start their series with the Tampa Bay Rays in Miami for three games, the Mets will continue their three games series with the Mariners in New York and the Braves will continue their three games series with the Brewers. The Phillies will be trying to recapture their winning ways as they travel to Oakland, Texas, and Atlanta, while hoping that they can increase their divisional lead over the pesky fish.