I guess if something was going to give, it would have to be the Phillies. Mother Nature has been pumping her hot breathe up and down the East Coast all weekend. The Phillies stayed toe-to-toe with the beast for the first three games of the San Diego series taking all three heading into Monday.
Cliff Lee (9-7, 3.05) was on the hill looking to get all double-digit in the win column to join mound-mates Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels who both have 12 wins for the season. Unfortunately for Lee, he was only able to last five innings in the Philadelphia sun giving up five runs on 10 hits.
The Phillies were unable to overcome the five run hole after four innings but didn’t go down so easily. Offensively they spread out four runs over a three inning stretch but failed to come through in the clutch. The team left runners in scoring position three times today. Ryan Howard was thrown out at the plate and Jimmy Rollins was caught stealing in the seventh inning.
Ironically enough, it was the two relief men the Phillies have been scouting that would shut it down in the late innings nailing down the 5-4 win for the Padres. Mike Adams and Heath Bell pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, needing only 25 pitches and struck out three Phillies hitters; two looking.
Out of the Phillies bullpen, Michael Stutes threw two scoreless innings for the Phillies and now has 38 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. He would have been in line for another win had the Phillies pulled it out. Chatting with him Friday during batting practice, he said, when mentioning his five wins, ‘Yeah, I guess I keep getting lucky.’ Works for me.
A look ahead and the Phillies are welcoming in the World Series Champs for three games and America’s Team for another three. Do I really need to explain who they are?
Now a look back….
Week in Review 7/18 – 7/24
It has just been hot. No cool breeze, no partial cloud cover. Hot! This past week I saw readings of 102 and 103 on bank signs and dashboards. It was a scorcher to say the least.
It was so hot, the Phillies could not cool off. They have continued their dominance in the National League heading into the final months of the season. For July, they have won 13 of 19 games, haven’t lost back-to-back games in over 40 games.
The past week has been no different. The Phillies have won five of seven (including today) games this week taking the series from the Cubs and the first three from visiting San Diego. Their only losses came in short outings from their top two aces. Halladay left the Cubs game due to heat exhaustion and Lee would only go five innings in his start against the Padres. Halladay and the team bounced back and stayed hydrated for his next start to earn his 12th win of the season.
Shane Victorino has been hot at the plate where collected six hits in the four games series against San Diego. After spending some time on the DL with a sprained thumb, it is good to have him back in the lineup. Chase Utley has also turned it up over the last six games collecting nine hits while his averaged is slowly creeping up and up at .283.
Overshadowing Phillies victories is the rumor cloud. It is always looming and hanging over CBP and this year is no different as the Phillies are once again buyers. The July 31st trade deadline is fast approaching and GM Ruben Amaro just can’t sleep well at night unless he knows he has given this team the best chance of winning the World Series.
You have to love the tenacity of this guy. Past deadlines have awarded us Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. While this year may not prove to be as fruitful, Amaro has thrown the Phillies name in some pretty big hats. It’s no secret this lineup is in need of a right handed bat and there are a handful of guys out there that could fill in nicely with the Phillies.
The Mets Carlos Beltran, Astros outfielder Hunter Pence and the Rays centerfielder BJ Upton are the main attention grabbers for those in need on an outfielder swinging from the right side. I can see the Phillies aggressively going after any one of these three, but at what cost? The front office is already, supposedly, nixing any deal with Domonic Brown or Jarred Cosart‘s name in it. A deal centered around Vance Worley could get something done, as he has been over-performing thus far this season.
I am sure Rube has something up his sleeve as always. In my humble opinion I would want to see Upton in Phillies pinstripes come August 1st. Who would you like to see?
This week the Phillies welcomed back Brad Lidge who has been out since 1982 with a right posterior rotator cuff strain suffered in spring training. To make room on the roster, the Phillies designated Danys Baez for assignment. Pat Gallen seems to think although he should not close games, Lidge may still have something left in the tank.
Roy Oswalt has been throwing successful and pain free side sessions and simulated games (no one swung, weird) and is ready to start rehabbing. He will make a rehab start Wednesday for Lehigh Valley and will be limited to 60 pitches.
The Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco fielded ground balls a second day in a row today and seems to be moving very well despite his recent bulging discs issues. He could have a rehab start Thursday with the Iron Pigs and could join the team before heading on the road to Colorado.
It is kind of sad when hearing commentators talk about all the Phillies injuries and how ‘the team is almost all back together once Oswalt and Polly rejoin.’ Must they forget about the other ringed pitcher? Big Joe Blanton. Has everyone completely written this guy off? For those of you who have not, Blanton is getting more tests done on his right elbow tomorrow to see what is causing the inflammation and soreness. He has been on the DL since May 16 and while surgery was not originally suggested these tests will look for potential nerve and bone damage.
Is it just me, or is Blanton like the kid at Fat Camp that no one can figure out why he is getting fatter as the summer progresses? Look, just shut Kentucky Joe down for the season and see what happens in the Spring. Stop running tests and stop having him throw. It obviously is not working.
And don’t forget, a big Happy 7th Birthday to Phillies Nation! Creator Brian Michael shares how PN came to be and the very first post. A very cool read.