Yesterday afternoon the Phillies played the Rockies in the second of a three game series in Denver, Colorado. In the first game of the series the Phillies sent Kyle Kendrick to the mound, and he didn’t last 5 innings. Fortunately, the bullpen and offense came through, tying the game, taking the lead, and then holding that lead leading to a Phillies win. Yesterday, the Phillies had issues, and it led to a 10-5 loss.
Saturday’s matchup pitted Phillies righty Jonathan Pettibone against Rockies righty Tyler Chatwood. In the few games Chatwood, a former 2nd round pick of the Angels, had pitched, he had performed well, but due to injuries, he hadn’t accumulated many innings. Pettibone came off of a loss in Milwaukee in which he pitched 5 and 1/3 innings surrendering 4 earned runs, striking out 4, and walking 2. As Wheels, Sarge, and T-mac mentioned numerous times throughout the game, day games at Coors Field have a tendency to become high scoring affairs.
The Phillies began the game well with a scorching ground ball up the middle by Ben Revere, who has been tearing the cover off the ball lately. Revere, who has hit the ball hard all year, has got some luck on his side as the balls he puts in play (85% contact percentage), are finally finding holes in the infield and gaps in the outfield. Revere stole second on a weak combination of Chatwood and Rosario and scored on a Michael Young weak ground ball single up the third base line. Howard followed by surprisingly crushing a fastball to the left field corner, but Carlos Gonzalez gunned down the slow as molasses Michael Young at the plate on a throw that missed both cut-off men.
While fans, such as myself, felt good that the Phillies offense sent the young P-Bone to the hill with any sort of lead, which is more than we have seen when Cole Hamels pitches, Pettibone succumbed to the his natural abilities as a quad-A pitcher and the hitting nature of Coors Field by surrendering 6 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. This outburst of offense after followed by no counter by the Phillies bats in the top of the 2nd became a harbinger for a swift defeat.
Pettibone lasted only 3 innings, giving up 3 runs, numerous hard hit balls, including an opposite field home run to Tyler Colvin, and 2 extra-base hits to Wilin Rosario who came into the game batting .162 over the last 28 days of the season. Following Pettibone came Horst, Savery, De Fratus, and Diekman, none of whom could end an inning 1-2-3. The Rockies had base runners in every inning they hit, and racked up 18 hits throughout the afternoon.
This wasn’t a slaughter, instead it was merely a beat down, one in which the Phillies never had a chance, despite facing Phillies piñata Chris Volstad for an inning. Yes, Volstad pitched, and the Phillies even managed a few runs off of the former Marlins righty, with the big blows coming from a Howard (no surprise) double and a John Mayberry Jr. home run. The Phillies continue to play as mediocre as a team hovering around the .500 mark can play. They show signs of life and competitiveness on Friday night, but follow it up by laying down early and often to the Rockies the following day. Not that the Phillies broadcasting squad should serve as an apt barometer for anything, but by the 7th inning the boys in the press box were discussing dinosaur fossils as opposed to, well, baseball.
While watching the game, the most fun this writer had was yelling “My name is Humberto Quintero, you killed Erik Kratz, prepare to die” when Quintero singled in the top of the 2nd inning. If that anecdote doesn’t accurately summarize another disgusting loss by the Phillies than I dont’ know what can. The game did feature two staller defensive plays, one by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado who while playing in expecting a bunt, dove behind himself and backhanded a ball hit by Pettibone, only to throw a one hopper to first from his backside to record the out. The other play was made by, no surprise here, Freddy Galvis, who went into the hole on the left-side, slid to field a sharply hit one hopper, only to pop up like a spring to nail the runner at first base.
The Phillies face the Rockies tomorrow in a rubber match, but even if the Phillies manage to hit behind Cole Hamels, a win cannot tomorrow cannot negate the paltry play they displayed on Saturday. Losses occur often throughout a long season, even to the best teams, but sometimes how a team wins and loses does matter. The Phillies lost Saturday without much of a fight, which discourages this fan. My final note is on Jimmy Rollins who may have come up big on Friday night, but had no fight in him Saturday, missing a very hittable fastball in the first inning (flying out to right) leading to an eventual seat on the bench once the Rockies scored enough runs to make put the game out of reach. The Phillies live to play another day, but that’s about all they came away with in Colorado on Saturday afternoon.