So, Chase Utley was good last night, huh? As for everybody else… um…
Phils’ starter Ethan Martin, despite issuing just two walks, battled control issues once again in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Braves in Atlanta. The rookie, who many think will ultimately end up in the bullpen, threw 96 pitches but managed just five innings of work, running deep counts to almost every Atlanta hitter.
Utley went 3 for 4 and scored the Phils’ lone run on an RBI single by Domonic Brown. However, the Phils’ youth and inexperience reared their ugly heads in the sixth and seventh innings when Brown was thrown out foolishly trying to stretch his RBI single in a double. He was thrown out by a country mile.
One inning later, after a lead-off single, Darin Ruf was doubled off first thanks to a screaming rocket by Cody Asche that was caught by Braves third baseman Chris Johnson. Ruf slipped twice heading back to the first base bag as Johnson doubled him off. Both running miscues were critical errors, robbing the Phils of having the tying run at the plate both times.
The Phillies are trying out a bunch of youngsters. In a lost season, that is what you do, and these types of things are going to happen. One hopes that Ruf and Brown will learn from their mental errors.
Martin, on the other hand, has to learn how to throw strikes if he wants to be a starter. And that can be a longer learning process. It is perhaps a process that may be unlearnable for him. Still, the kid has a live arm and there’s no harm in giving him a shot now.
“What I see now is a max-effort guy,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “You think bullpen piece because he has a strong arm and a good, tight breaking ball. But he’s young. There’s still time to see if he can start.”
Luckily for Martin, that is what the Phillies have. They have time to see if they can take a wild but hard thrower and make a starter out of him. However, with Jonathan Pettibone set to return from the disabled list sometime in the next few weeks, and Roy Halladay maybe not far behind, Martin may not have many more starts under his belt.
“Just try to leave a good impression for however long I’m here,” he said after Tuesday night’s game.
Last night, there weren’t many good impressions to go around.