July 9 2006

The Phillies get a respite from their miserable year as the 2006 season pulls into the All-Star break.  Their record stands at 40-47.

It's been vomitous.  After the guy in charge of putting together a playoff team kicked off the year by explaining the Phillies didn't have the horses to make the playoffs, the Phillies players showed us all they've got their new GM's back by firing off nearly two full months of absolutely abysmal baseball.  The Phillies beat the Reds 2-1 on May 14 to improve to 22-15 on the year.  Since then they've gone 18-32.

As expected, the pitching was wretched, but the offense had been worse than expected.  Worse still, the team looks deader than the dead-hair girl's hair in a shampoo ad.

The Phillies have managed thus far to be less than the sum of their parts.  And that's saying a lot, cause some of their sum, particularly the starting pitching sum, didn't come in with real high expectations (I think I've mentioned this before, but 20% of the guys in the starting rotation at the beginning of the year had a 6.16 ERA at Triple-A last year).

In the win column, the Phillies are two games ahead of each the Marlins and the Nationals in the NL East.  Seven teams are ahead of them in the Wild Card chase.  Five teams are behind them. 

They go into the break on what passes as a mini-hot streak, winning today's game against the Pirates to prevent a loss in their ninth consecutive series.  It's not too late for the Phillies this year, there are a lot of games to be played.  They're ahead of the Braves in the standings and if you think Atlanta is done for the season I would refer you to the last fourteen years or so.

Over the last nine games the Phillies went 4-5.  Here's a look back:

June 30:  Lost 8-1 to the Blue Jays to drop to 36-43 on the year.

  • Adam Bernero got the start for the Phillies and got shelled, giving up eight runs in two innings

  • Fabio Castro made his Phillies debut, throwing three scoreless innings and facing just nine batters

  • Burrell was on the bench again as Dellucci went 2-for-4 with a solo homer for the Phillies only run

July 1:  Lost 5-2 to Toronto to drop to 36-44.

  • Cory Lidle throws five scoreless innings before giving up three in the sixth

  • The Phillies got two in the top of the seventh to get back within one at 3-2

  • Rick White gives up two in the bottom of the seventh

  • The Phillies get just three extra-base hits on the days, two from Jimmy Rollins.

  • BJ Ryan gets the last five outs for the Blue Jays, striking out five and allowing just one hit

July 2:  Beat Toronto 11-6 to improve to 37-44.  The series loss is their seventh consecutive.

  • Aaron Fultz gets his first career start and can't get out of the second inning.

  • Geary goes 3 1/3 out of the pen, allowing a run and getting the win

  • Abreu and Utley combine to go 6-for-10 with seven RBI

  • Fasano left the game in the fourth inning with a left knee problem and would go on the DL two days later

July 4:  Beat San Diego 6-5 at home to improve to 38-44.

  • Hamels starts, going two innings and allowing a run before a rain delay that knocks him out of the game

  • Franklin goes three innings in relief, allowing just one run on two hits

  • Gordon comes in in the eighth after Rhodes is hard hard

  • Aaron Rowand's single in the ninth wins it for the Phils

  • Carlos Ruiz hits his first home run, a two-run shot as part of a five-run fourth

July 5:  Lose 6-3 to the Padres to drop to 38-45.

  • Mathieson has a good start, going eight innings and holding the Padres to three runs on six hits.  He was sent back to Double-A the next day.

  • Rhodes and Gordon combine to allow three runs in the ninth inning as the Padres pull ahead 6-3.

  • Peavy strikes out nine Phillies in seven innings

  • Abreu, Howard and Burrell combine to go 0-for-10 with five strikeouts

  • Phillies get four extra-base hits, two, a double and a triple, from Rowand

July 6:  Lose 5-3 to the Padres to fall to 38-46.  The series loss is their eighth consecutive. 

  • Staked to a 3-0 lead after two innings, Madson gets shelled, allowing five runs in five innings.  He gives up eight hits and three walks

  • Castro, Fultz, Geary and Cormier combine to throw four scoreless innings to keep the Phillies in the game

  • The Phillies get two extra-base hits, both doubles by Utley

July 7:  Lost to the Pirates 3-2 in the series opener in Philly.  The loss put them at 38-47 on the year. 

  • Jon Lieber returns and pitches well after the first inning.  He allows just five hits over seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned

  • Rick White throws two scoreless innings in relief

  • The Phillies get four hits and strike out nine times

  • Howard, Rowand and Dellucci combine to go 0-for-11 with five strikeouts

  • The Phillies get two extra-base hits, both doubles.  One from Rollins and one from Utley

July 8:  Beat Pittsburgh 6-2 to even the series at a game apiece and improve to 39-47 on the year.

  • Cory Lidle pitches well, going six innings and allowing just two runs

  • Geary, Franklin, Cormier and Rhodes combine to throw three scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two hits

  • Burrell gets an RBI but still does not have an extra-base hit in the first eight days of July

  • The Phillies get just two extra-base hits on the day, both doubles (Utley and Bell)

  • Chris Coste goes 2-for-3, driving in three of the Phillies six runs

July 9:  Beat the Pirates in 8-3 to go into the break at 40-47, winning their first series in their last nine attempts.

  • Hamels goes five innings, holding the Pirates to three runs on six hits and two walks

  • Franklin, Geary and Rick White combine to throw four scoreless innings or relief

  • The top four (Rollins, Utley, Abreu, Burrell) in the batting order go 9-for-18 and score seven runs

  • Coste goes 2-for-5 with two more RBI

  • Burrell leaves six men on base but does get one of the Phillies four extra-base hits, all of which were doubles.  Including today's double he has two extra-base hits in his last 45 at-bats

The best hope for the Phillies may be that this is all some kind of black magic that's bound to wear off sooner or later.  The team has hit one home run in their last six games, which came off the unlikely bat of Carlos Ruiz.

The Phillies next game is Friday in San Francisco.

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