You would think the baseball gods would give the Phillies style points for this one, at least.
The Phils managed just three hits in their 5-3 loss to the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, yet somehow scored three runs. That’s an incredibly efficient output by a team that has become something of an expert at leaving runners on base. So everybody should feel pretty darn awesome at that production, no?
Unfortunately, those three runs were three less than the necessary six that were required to beat the Rockies last night, as call-up Tyler Cloyd gave up five runs in the first three innings to Colorado, putting the Phils in a 5-0 hole.
Sorry. A 5-0 CANYON.
And as a result, last night’s result brought an end to the Phils’ season-long two-game winning streak.
OK, they’ve won more games in a row at some point this season. But lately, two in a row feels almost Dodger-esque.
The rotation, the supposed strength of this team, has not lived up to expectations this year. Heading into Cloyd’s six-inning “effort” last night, the Phils’ rotation had an ERA of 4.25. And as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki noted, their ERA of 5.79 since the All-Star break is the worst in the NL East, trailing the Marlins (3.43 ERA), Braves (3.48 ERA), Mets (3.51 ERA) and Nationals (3.93 ERA).
That’s just one of the reasons this team has gone 7-22 since the All-Star break.
A few weeks ago, the Phillies signed Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a $48 million deal. But either he’s been kidnapped by Cuban authorities and thrown into a labor camp in Cuba or his right elbow has exploded, because a deal that looked done appears as though it may no longer happen. Jonathan Pettibone is likely in the mix for a rotation spot next year, and Kyle Kendrick is likely still a part of the team’s plans too.
Roy Halladay? The Phils likely need to see more from him before bringing him up to the Majors.
“Cliff Lee was an All-Star this year,” Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said on Tuesday. “He’s pitched well. Cole Hamels has pitched better than his record. Kyle Kendrick, he’s had some good games. [Jonathan] Pettibone was showing some quality and filled in nicely when he came up. And we had the injury with Doc, so those were big shoes to fill right there.” – quote from Zolecki
The Phillies haven’t been able to fill those shoes, and as a result, a season in which many expected the rotation to be a strength, has turned into a huge question mark for 2014.
Hey, why should the rotation be any different than the rest of the roster?
The bullpen was perhaps the biggest reason why the team struggled in the first half of the year.
The other huge has been an offense that has struggled to score runs without Ben Revere at the top of the lineup, with a struggling Jimmy Rollins flailing away at the plate, with two rookies (Darin Ruf and Cody Asche) learning on the job, no Ryan Howard power, and an outfield situation that has seen the Phils employ a heavy dose of John Mayberry and Casper Wells.
But the focus always comes back to pitching and, specifically, a rotation that has underperformed and been unhealthy.
Those are two bad things, you know.