Remember last year everyone? It seemed like the Phillies didn’t lose a series until they played the Mariners during an inter league series. Ah…..last year. A year in which the Phillies were the best team in baseball, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard were doing stuff that didn’t involve the word “rehab,” and Chase Utley, well Chase Utley was doing the exact same thing, but the team was winning a lot more ballgames.
We are now thrust into the present. A pitcher making a crap ton of money is winless into July, Ryan Howard is now collecting animals two by two in Clearwater, Chase Utley is maybe, possibly getting closer to returning and the Phillies managed to get swept by the Tampa Bay Rays.
This was the type of baseball that makes you want to take a shower after watching it. In the first game, Cole Hamels pitched well enough to win. Apparently well enough to win is seven inning of shutout, three hit ball. Thanks to a sixth inning Jimmy Rollins home run, Cole left the game with a one run lead. Thanks to a crappy bullpen, said lead was surrendered toot sweet with Antonio Bastardo promptly walking two players and allowing the game winning home run to Carlos Pena.
The Phillies scored a run in the bottom of the inning, but managed to leave another player on third with less than two outs as John Mayberry Jr. killed the rally by striking out looking. Seriously? All they needed at this point was a fly ball. It feels like this type of situation typifies what this team has become. I suppose this is what you get when you see more of Michael Martinez and Hector Luna than you do Ryan Howard or Chase Utley. Fernando Rodney got the save for the Rays in a 3-2 loss for the Phillies.
Game two was much worse. Cliff Lee versus a bunch of relievers. This seems like a clear advantage for the Phillies right? Wrong. Brooks Conrad had two doubles and four RBI as Cliff Lee remained winless this season. Juan Perez has two wins. Lee went seven innings and allowed five earned runs (remember Conrad drove in four of them). The Phillies had pulled within one run before Conrad’s second double, so a lot of the blame can be pinned on Cliff for not being able to get him out.
To complicate matters, the young members of the bullpen were saddled with keeping the score at 5-3. B.J. Rosenberg walked four guys and Jake Diekman added another walk as the Rays scored some insurance runs without getting a hit. This one was a 7-3 defeat.
The moment that defeat seemed imminent in the first game was Pena’s home run. I am not sure how much more explanation is required. The team scored one run on a solo home run and was saddled with overcoming a two run deficit. Thanks to John Mayberry Jr., they couldn’t.
In game two it was Conrad’s first double. Lee looked like he was going to get out of the inning allowing only one run on a Sean Rodriguez RBI double, but Conrad made sure that Lee remained winless.
The most attractive play of the first game was Jimmy Rollins’ home run. Rollins has been really good lately, escaping blame for the team’s awful play.
In the second game it was….that second game was an absolute crap fest. Maybe it could be those two times that people got Brooks Conrad out. More on him later.
The hero of the game was Cole Hamels. He had the opportunity to tie R.A. Dickey for the league lead in wins. The bullpen made sure that didn’t happen.
The second game’s hero was Placido Polanco. He drove in two runs and was generally not terrible.
The villain of the game was Carlos Pena. He carried an average a touch over .200. In a left on left matchup, Antonio Bastardo managed to give up a three run homer on the first pitch of the at bat.
The second game’s villain was Brooks Conrad. As stated in a previous post, Brooks is a stupid name.
Tomorrow Joe Blanton takes on the oddest looking man in baseball, Jeff Karstens. Hopefully a series with the Pirates can extricate the taste of crappy baseball from our collective mouths.