Phillies Sluggish in Crucial Series Opener

Posted by Corey Seidman, Fri, July 27, 2012 10:26 PM | Comments: 22
2012 Game Recaps

The Phillies really needed a win in their series opener Friday in Atlanta. It began a crucial six-game stretch against the Braves and Nationals that could be the final nail in the coffin if the Phils don’t perform well.

Cole Hamels was en route to a solid outing, but he lost his control in the second inning. He should have gotten out of the inning when Ben Sheets grounded the ball to third base, but it went under Mike Fontenot‘s glove. Third base defense has been a major issue in Placido Polanco‘s absence. Polly’s bat is non-existent at this point but when he’s not there, you see how important D is at the hot corner.

Hamels hung tough until the fifth, when Brian McCann hit a three-run homer. It’s the sixth straight game against the Phillies that McCann has homered. He has 16 RBI in those six games.

The Braves tacked on another run in the sixth to win, 6-1.

The Phillies scored their only run in their first two plate appearances of the night. Jimmy Rollins lined a single to right off Sheets (3-0, 0.50 ERA) and Shane Victorino followed with a laced double to right-center.

Rollins and Victorino were 4 for 8 with two doubles and two steals. The rest of the team went 3-for-26 with one extra-base hit.

The loss drops the Phillies to 45-55 and 10.5 games behind the Braves for the second NL wild card spot.

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Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

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  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Ah, Corey, knowing you are a man that can show a self depricating sort of sense of humor, I do want to thank you for making me laugh during the post game somber state.

    To say that Cole was “enroute” to a solid outing until he lost control in the SECOND inning is pretty funny.

    If a pitcher can’t win unless he goes 5, I’d say good signs need to go until at least the third before we apply the word enroute.

    Course once upon a time, Babe Ruth was enroute to a good outing after retiring 1 batter, but then got tossed, and Ernie Shore came in and retired 26 in a row, so there’s precedence for your point. Something seems a little off on my historic recollection, but it was close to that.

    But I still found the enroute application ticklish. Amidst the frustration.

    • Posts: 0 George

      My recollection is that Ruth walked the first batter, got tossed for arguing the strike zone, and Shore retired the next 27 men.

      Hamels, on the other hand, didn’t argue. Maybe he should have. With the way he pitched in his four innings after that first, it probably would have been best if he’s been thrown out, too.

      Until Polanco returns, I think the scoreboard will be reading “E6″ at least once per game. Yesterdays results couldn’t have been much worse if Fontenot pitched and Hamels played the hot corner.

      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        George must be very old to accurately recall the Ernie Shore perfecto. I knew I somehow didn’t have that right. Here’s how the pictures, descriptions and accounts of that day went down 95 years ago. Pretty clean language in the discussion on the strike zone. Leastwise, in the newspaper account. Then again, maybe mudderfudder didn’t become part of Webster’s Dictionary until after WWI.


      • Posts: 0 George

        Actually, it’s not so much my antiquity (although I do recall when Ruth was sold to the Yanks) but my astounding memory. I had forgotten that bit about the guy caught stealing, so technically, you were correct, too.

        As far as the language, I doubt if the Globe was reporting the exact exchange. Back in the day, the reading public would not have stood for it. The term mudderfudder wasn’t in vogue then, though. From what I’ve read, that one came in during WWII, along with a long list of other colorful terms.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    McCann has been killing this team this year. They should re-evaluate the scouting report on this dude.

    • Posts: 2069 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      Walk him every time he comes up with men on base. It’s the only way

      • Posts: 0 chuck schreiber

        Let’s [play “Bob Gibson” baseball and stick it in him, Coby Ross & Braun’s ear everytime up. However since the game is so soft now it won’t happen, but thats the way you do it.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    You don’t have to walk him every time he comes up, you just can’t serve him a belt high fastball. The greatness of our pitchers is that they can make guys swing at pitches just outta the strike zone. Lee is the greatest example of this. If Lee is off just a little, he’s gonna get hit. He relies on his cutter so much and If he doesn’t get on the hands and misses, it gets killed, like it has this year at times. Cole left that pitch right there for McCann and he killed it. Ken Bland could have killed that pitch. Bad year for the pitchers so far.

    The sweet is never as sweet without the sour. This year is setting us up for the ultimate gratification of next year. As somewhat of an amateur alchemist, I have foreseen this. Roy’s arm will be fine. Cliff will be fine. They’re not too old. They’ll all be fine.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      It’s pretty widely thought that Cliff needs location to be effective. And I have no reason to quibble.

      But I wonder if pitch selection might not be contributing to his portion of a year of not good results. He seems to mix in about 8-10 curve balls a game. His mph still look pretty good compared to younger days (92-93 V 95-96), but he’s gotten away from that fast ball dependency in favor of the cutter. Not that the cutter’s a novelty pitch that will disappear, but hitters have a better sense of it these days. I wonder what the results would be if he threw a game of maybe even a lot less cutters, and threw a good number more curves. Chances are this thought has little substance, or it would have been tried already, but he seems to have coupled location issues with predictability. He’s pitching reasonably well for the most part, but reasonably isn’t part of his resume since early in his career.

      Far as dropping my name as able to hit off Hamels last night, it’s always wise to support guesses with statistical support. My .228 OPS career mark in the batting cages would prove that point. Bring it on!

      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        It’s pretty widely thought that all pitchers in baseball need location to be effective because, as it turns out, MLB players are REALLY DAMN GOOD hitters.

    • Posts: 0 George

      As an alchemist, I suppose you can turn lead into gold. You should email Ruben Amaro, because a talent like that could come in handy when the Luxury Tax bill comes due.

      If you haven’t reached that level of ability yet, maybe you could attempt to turn Ty Wigginton’s cast iron hands into something with a little more flexibility.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Query: If the Rangers come knocking for Lee or Halladay, and they will offer you a package that will include Olt and that SS, plus an everyday player that would start for you (Murphy), do you think about doing it? Thats a lot for them to give up but with the Angels just getting Greinke, the Rangers are gonna need Josh Johnson (who they will end up getting) or Lee. The Rangers may be really hype to do a deal and they might overpay (I think). They really wanna win a WS. I believe that an L tonite puts us squarely is sell mode.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      i agree dipsey totally! if we can get both those prospects and a guy to play everyday as you say ( murphy ) then you do it ! no if’s ands or buts.that would solve one position for this year ( which is done ) and posible two for next year! then trade rollins in the off season. solves the money payrole , more youth more money to aguire something else we would need all with one trade! makes sense.

    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Olt AND “that SS?” (I assume you mean Profar?) If Texas offers you Olt and Profar for any player on the Phillies roster you make that deal immediately.

      That being said, that’s not going to happen because Profar is basically the best prospect in baseball and plays a premium position.

  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    My guess is they are aggressively shopping Lee, to clear salary space.
    Halladay would probably be available as well.That injury has to be a little disconcerting.

    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      it’s time to get younger! i agree as i did with dipsey! start the migration of our baby aces up to the big show. if we can aquire the pieces mentioned above along with some of our own talent it might not mean we’ll win the div next year but we’ll be a much better club for the year after when the comcast money starts to flow in and if we still need something we can buy it!

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Dipsy — I would give it up for those players in a heartbeat. We absolutely need to start rebuilding this team and NOW is the perfect time to do so. We can be much more competitive next year with a positive injection of youth in this lineup and keeping MOST but not all of our pitchers.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    If you listen to Ruin Tomorrow Jr on Howard this morning. I realize he was not going to say much. They have 8 million to sign 16 players. YEA OK….

    From what he said. Brown will be in left next year. he must with the money. they are down on jmj and do not see him as a starter. pence will remain here with howard back. they need the power and even though its going to cost them its still reasonable for a guy who can hit 25 to 30 homers. when asked about the three pitchers. his answer was im pretty sure they all will be here. we think starters win you games. lee is not going anywhere. galvis might move to third. thats what you got from the interview.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    @Ken Bland – That curve ball is a great pitch. I do not know why he is not using it. Just some amateur pitching analysis but here goes: If you’re always around the strike zone the hitters will always be looking right in the srikezone. Throw that curve and let the hitter screw himself in the ground every once in awhile.

    As the nice as that trade proposal would be from the Rangers, I don’t think they would ever do it unless we ate MAJOR MONEY. Maybe not even then. I’d do Lee for any two f those three.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      One reason the Rangers don’t make that deal is because they have another issue. It’s pretty well documented about Josh’s misreable results since a scintillating start, but you couple his what have you done for me lately numbers with Mike Napoli’s very human year after last season, and there’s an offensive blip in place. A starter might be the primary need, but Alexi Ogando could be moved back in the rotation. He certainly wouldn’t be as fatigued as last year.
      The name Victorino might actually be crossing the Rangers lips.

      Here’s a very longshot scenario to think about. Pirates want offense. get the idea that a fresh start helps Hamilton. Move 3 players to Texas for Josh, including a reliever the Phils would want. Rangers flip one of the players to the Phils for Vic. Vic replaces Josh, which sounds nuts, until you realize he’s outplaying Josh the last 2 months, and Vic isn’t even playing well. The Bucs would have to sacrifice some middle relief, which they don’t especially want to do, but they get Hamilton, and with him, solid confidence they could get to the tournament.

      Are the Rangers fed up with Josh enough to do all this? Put it this way. Their fatigue with his non productivity is pretty intense. Nolan Ryan’s recent call out of Josh in a candid interview was a tip of the tension they feel. They’ll probably do somthing. The Rangers are 1-9 against All-Star pitchers this year, including when Josh was on fire. That includes about a .200 batting average against. All Star pitchers can include political choices, and batting averages represent only a small portion of the landscape, but they aren’t inspiring numbers to be real patient.

      Phils have debated buy or sell. Rangers are in pitching or offense mode. Never an easy decision, never a dull moment. No matter where the standings have you.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Well, an easier way to do it is to THROW is Shane with Lee for those three players. Hamilton is an just…a mess. While that’s creative thinking, that kinda stuff rarely gets done. Why wouldn’t Texas give us Olt, Jurickson (sp) and Murphy for Lee and Vic? Vic HAS to go. To keep him makes no sense. Rugen just has to do his best to create the illusion that, with two months left, Shane is worth something decent. Personally, I would take two really good low minor prospects for Shane.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Whoever it was above that said walk McCann every time wins the strategy of at least this day award. Consider…

    “#Braves McCann has homered in 6 straight games vs. #Phillies, tonight faces Blanton, against whom he is 10-for-24 (.417) with 3 HRs.”

    And at third base, Ty Glovington, er, Wigginton, I mean, and Mike Fieldanot have 10 errors in 32 games. That translates to 50 errors in 160 games. perhaps they’d play error free in the other 2, and leave it at a prorated 50 errors in 160. We’re not even talking superior range, like Desmond with the Nats who used to get a lot of errors on balls others wouldn’t touch. If you aren’t gonna play Fransden both games, you sure don’t match him up against Hudson instead of Minor. Charlie said he’d play some this weekend. Tonight’s the night.

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