Apr 25, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (41) watches from the dugout steps during the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Finish Awful Series Against Pirates With 6-4 Loss

Let’s make a quick list of things that would have been more fun to do than watch this four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates this week.

  • Getting your wisdom teeth pulled.
  • Spending four days in an abandoned house in the woods.
  • Watching tapes of Andy Reid press conferences on a continuous loop.
  • Crashing your car into a police cruiser.
  • Watching hockey.

Yeah, watching the Phillies lose three out of four games to the Pittsburgh Pirates this week, capped off by Thursday’s 6-4 come-from-ahead loss, was absolutely no fun whatsoever.

This series had a little bit of everything. Numerous boneheaded plays by Chase Utley, lineup “shake-ups” that lasted one whole day, the continued struggle of the offense to hit with runners on base, and a bullpen that blew two late-inning leads in two days.  All were hallmarks of a terrible week against the Buccos.

Apr 25, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Phillippe Aumont (48) walks to the bench after being relieved during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

And Thursday’s game was more of the same.

Once again, the Phillies wasted a terrific starting performance, this time by Cliff Lee, who went seven innings and threw an insane 122 pitches, all in the hopes of avoiding a bullpen that is suddenly struggling in the late innings. The Phils had been 6-0 when leading after six innings coming into this series. Their last two losses against Pittsburgh came with the team leading 3-1 after six.

Yesterday, Cliff Lee was unable to maintain that two-run lead, dinked and dunked for two game-tying runs in the seventh. His final line (7 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, 7 K, 1BB) was certainly good enough to win.

Unfortunately, hitting with men on base was once again a big problem for the offense yesterday.

The Phils went 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, making them 6 for 41 for the entire series. That’s kinda bad.

And the bullpen, which I conveniently wrote was a strength of the team two days ago, imploded in this series, allowing eight runs on 10 hits and five walks over the past two games. Yesterday, it was Phillippe Aumont’s turn to get torched, giving up three hits and three earned runs while recording just one out in the eighth inning. Aumont pitched instead of Mike Adams or Antonio Bastardo, who were unavailable for yesterday’s game after a heavy workload the last few days.

Chad Durbin also did what he does best, which is allow an inherited runner to score, although he did strand the other one, so maybe we’re moving in the right direction here.

It was a bad week. The Phils, now 9-14, are 7 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 4½ games out in the wild-card race. Admittedly, it is still just April. However, if the Phillies continue to dig too big a hole for themselves while “it’s still early,” it may not matter how much time is left.

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