What will go down in the books as a Joe Blanton loss actually had nothing to do with the Kentucky chubster. The Phillies provided free baseball for everyone like it was treat. Truth be told, this game should not have lasted this long.
Call it typical or what to expect this season from the Phillies, but the offense was just nonexistent tonight. Seven hits over 10 innings is all this team could manage against a mediocre pitcher in Jeff Karsten. Karsten went six innings, allowed only a first inning run and confused Phillies hitters all night.
What was also very confusing tonight was the strike zone. Normally I will never mention this but there wasn’t one tonight. The home plate umpire was all over the place. Who knows, really, what effect this had on anything. Cliff Lee pitched well enough to get a win tonight. He went six strong innings struck out four and the only run surrendered was on a passed ball in the sixth inning.
Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco provided over half the offense tonight getting two hits each while Hunter Pence picked up the RBI in the first scoring the only Phillies run. Lance Nix used his usual eyes closed, butt clinched style of hitting trying to crush everything. Even his bunt attempt went a million miles into the air.
Freddy Galvis has yet to pick up his first Major League hit going 0-4 once again tonight. It’s no secret he wasn’t brought up for his bat but he left four runners on and came up in some big time situations that would have really broken the game open. Granted, he showed off his warning track power but like I said it’s not his bat that got him hear.
With that said, Galvis did make some nice plays in the field and the duo of him and Jimmy Rollins is looking smooth up the middle.
A big plus for the evening was the middle relief. Kyle Kendrick, Chad Qualls, Michael Stutes, and Antonio Bastardo each pitched very well for their situation. Bastardo did walk a batter on four pitches but induced an infield pop-up from the next batter. Crisis averted.
Blanton was brought in to pitch the tenth. Rod Barajas, who loves playing the Phillies, crushed a ball that hit off the front of the center field wall to start the inning and his replacement runner moved to third on a sac bunt. A pseudo hit by pitch had runners on first and third with one out.
An infield fly to Glavis made it two outs. Rookie Alex Presley then beat out an infield hit to score pinch runner Michael McKenry. Boom. Pirates win 2-1 and I just spent my Saturday night in with this.
Look, when Cliff Lee gives up only one run you say thank you. You don’t dump all over it and not score any runs. The Phillies offense, yes we know is going to struggle but, will need to step up this season. This rotation will be great but will not do it all by themselves.
The Vanimal goes tomorrow in the final game of this series. Go eat, go pout, but as always go Phillies!