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.
Cole Hamels is once again denied winning his tenth victory of the season, although he would pitch a lot better than he did in his previous two starts, as the Phillies fall to the Marlins’, 3-0. The Marlins would score their first run in the second when, with a runner on second and two outs, Matt Treanor would hit a RBI single, scoring Dan Uggla, who has gotten on base earlier with a two-out double to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. The game would then becomes a pitchers’ duel between Hamels and Marlins’ starter Chris Volstad until the sixth, when with a runner on second and two outs, Josh Willingham would hit a RBI double, scoring Jeremy Hermida, who would has earlier singled and stole second, to make it 2-0 Marlins. Then in the seventh, the Marlins’ would score their final run, as, with the bases loaded and one man out, and with Ryan Madson pitching in relief of Hamels, Hanley Ramirez would hit into a RBI ground out, short to first, scoring Cody Ross, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, to make it 3-0 Florida. That would be the final score as Marlins’ pitching would put out the only Phillies’ rally, runners on first and second, with two out in the eighth, as Matt Lindstrom would get Geoff Jenkins to ground out.
Cole Hamels would take the lost, his third lost in his last six starts, which would include three no-decisions, for which the Phillies are 2-1, as he would pitch six and a third innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits. His record is now 9-8 with a 3.35 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Clay Condrey and Brad Lidge would each pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits, both against Lidge. Chris Volstad would get the win, as he throws six scoreless innings, as he three hits the Phils. His record is now 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA. Joe Nelson, Arthur Rhodes and Matt Lindstrom would combine to pitch two scoreless innings against the Phillies, giving up only one hit between them (Rhodes). Kevin Gregg would get the save, his twenty-fifth of the year, as he pitches a scoreless ninth.
The Phillies’ offense would once again be put to sleep as they are only able to get three hits, all singles against Volstad, while getting only four hits overall, with the last one being their lone extra-base hit, a double. Seriously, what is it going to take for the offense to stop Randy Lerching Cole Hamels, forcing him to be practically near perfect to win his starts? Something has got to give, either him telling his teammates off, or the offense starting to crank out runs. Hopefully it’ll be the later and not the former.
The Phillies (62-52) will continue their six games home stand as they prepare to welcome the lowly Pirates (52-62, 5th National League Central) for three weekend games. The first game will be played tomorrow night 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, as he went seven innings, giving up only an earned run on four hits, in the Phillies’ 2-1 win. This will be his first start against the Bucos since being traded to the Phillies. He will be looking for his second win as a Phil 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 Cubbies, 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. He hopes to improve his record while hoping that the Phillies’ batters won’t do any better against him this time around.
The Phillies lead against the Marlins is now down to a game and a half thanks to the lost, as the Marlins go on to New York to face the Mets. The Mets now trail by two games, defeating the Padres, as they prepare to welcome the Marlins at Shea Stadium. The Braves presently trail the Phillies by ten games as they start a four games series with the Diamondbacks in Arizona. The Phillies will be trying to put a little distance between them and their nearest opponent as they prepare to face one of the weakest teams in the National League while hoping that the Mets and the Marlins will hurt each other during their three games series.