We knew that the beginning of this season would be something of a controlled drown. The team needed to keep enough water out of their lungs to endure the injuries to the third and fourth batters on the line-up card. Howard and Utley’s absence would render run scoring opportunities scant forcing talk radio and fans around the area to attempt to embrace the notion of “small ball.” Sure they can pitch, but will that be enough? Thus far, the Philadelphia offense has Juan Pierre starting the majority of the games as its left fielder and leading off after John Mayberry Jr. has been absolutely terrible. (As a side note I am going to have an aneurysm if the announcing team says that Juan Pierre can work a pitcher. He has a career batting average of .296 with an on base percentage of .345. For reference, Rickey Henderson’s line is .279 and .401.
I know that he’s the standard bearer for leadoffness, but that guy could work a fucking pitcher, not Juan Pierre.) The first base cavalcade consisting of Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Jim Thome and the aforementioned Mayberry Jr. has underwhelmed and while he has played a REALLY good second base, Freddy Galvis is no Chase Utley at the dish.
With this malaise as the backdrop, the Phillies made the trip from San Francisco to San Diego. San Diego can not hit the ball. Not only do they have a giant ballpark in Petco park, but they only have one guy in the line-up who can hit the ball out of the infield in the person of Chase Headley. In addition to the classic match up of inadequate offenses, the 9:00 start time makes staying awake for the entire game virtually impossible. This can explain the fact that this is the first recap of the series as I fell asleep in the eighth inning of the first two games. Last night’s contest was one of the most difficult to watch games I have ever seen. It may be a really nice place to live, but thus far, San Diego has produced some abjectly terrible baseball.
Vance Worley pitched really well in game one of the series. He struck out a career high eleven batters and managed to bounce back fairly convincingly from a tough start against the Mets. The Phillies scored two runs. Jimmy Rollins hit a sac fly in the first inning and Hunter Pence scored on a passed ball in the ninth. The offense in this game consisted of a sac fly and a passed ball added an insurance run. This all came against Joe Wieland. Yes, they were shut down by Joe Wieland. There really isn’t too much to add about this one.
Game two pitted Cole Hamels against noted shitpile Edinson Volquez. Hamels didn’t have his best stuff, but he grinded his way through six innings only allowing one earned run. He even got called for two balks in an inning making this the first time that a Phillies pitcher was called for two balks in an inning since Paul Quantrill accomplished the feat when the Phillies were terrible.
Jesus Guzman drove in the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he drove in Cameron Maybin after a lead off triple. At this point, the Phillies had failed to exploit the fact that the guy pitching for the Padres is not very good. They managed to load the bases with singles from Shane Victorino, Ty Wigginton and Freddy Galvis. Galvis was aboard after the infield failed to pick up his sacrifice attempt. Shockingly, Brian Schieder singled in Victorino and Juan Pierre knocked in Wiggington and Galvis with another single. There were a few questionable pitcher choices from Bud Black that helped the Phillies limping offense. Black used right hander Andrew Cashner to face three left handed batters. He also used a LOOGY to turn Shane Victorino around to the right side. Victorino hit a home run after he was apparently hit by a pitch on the previous offering. 4-1 Phillies win.
In game three, Roy Halladay walked the bases loaded and the offense failed to score on Cory Luebke in eight innings of work. Micheal Stutes was tagged for three runs in the top of the ninth as the Phillies dropped thier first game in San Diego in forever. 5-1 loss for the Phils.
While the baseball has been nei-impossible to watch, there have been some positive elements to take away. Jose Conteras pitched in a honest to goodness major league baseball game and he did not give up any runs. Worley, Hamels and Halladay all pitched well enough to win. We, as Phillie fan, get a chance to look at a third baseman than may become available at some point in Chase Headley. If Chase Utley can’t make his way back to the field, maybe would could get another Chase to play another position.
The Phillies turn to Joe Blanton in an attempt to win the series. The Padres counter with Anthony Bass. Lets hope that the offense can respond to facing some random pitcher that no one has ever heard of.