What we learned in recent games is something we all should have known already — the Phillies aren’t as good as the Red Sox or the Angels. That’s not a problem. The problem is that trying to prove they were got them so tight they couldn’t play. But to be as good as the elite teams in baseball the Phillies are going to have to get better, not play harder.
There’s no way that all the Phillies’ hitters developed some kind of physical problem at the same time that made them unable to hit. Despite the excellent pitching the Red Sox and Angels threw, the Phils’ hitters are just too good for that. The task now for the Phils is to work themselves out of the collective frenzy they managed to slip into so easily — some games against the long list of teams the Phillies are better than should help. Immediately.
It’s not time to worry unless it doesn’t.
The Phillies lost to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yesterday, falling 3-2 to drop to 42-35. The Angels swept the three-game set. The Phillies have lost five in a row and scored nine runs in their last five games.
A day after losing four games in a row for the first time this season the Phillies have now lost five in a row for the first time this season.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils and went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.
He threw a 1-2-3 first.
Vladimir Guerrero singled to start the second. Torii Hunter moved him to second with a ground ball to first. Gary Matthews Jr was next and lined a 1-2 pitch into right-center for a single that scored Guerrero and put Anaheim up 1-0. Lefty Casey Kotchman was next and hammered a 1-0 pitch out way out to right. 3-0. Hamels got the next two.
Chone Figgins led off the third with a bunt single. Erick Aybar was next and he bunted a ball that Hamels fielded. Hamels threw to second to force Figgins for the first out. Howie Kendrick flew to right for the second out and Ruiz picked Aybar off with a snap throw to first with Vlad at the plate to end the inning.
Hunter singled with one out in the fourth, but Matthews grounded into a double-play behind him.
Aybar singled with one out in the sixth. Kendrick moved Aybar to second with a ground out to first before Hamels struck Guerrero out swinging at an 0-2 pitch to end the frame.
Hamels threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He had thrown 94 pitches through seven.
Madson started the eighth. With one out Reggie Willits and Figgins singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second for Aybar. Aybar flew to right and Willits went to third. Madson got Kendrick on a ground ball to second to leave both men stranded.
Madson’s ERA is down to 3.03 on the year. He has a 1.80 ERA in 20 appearances since the end of April.
Lidge started the ninth with the Phillies down a run. Hunter doubled with one out and Garrett Anderson hit for pitcher Scott Shields and moved Hunter to third with a ground ball that Lidge fielded. Lidge walked the lefty Kotchman intentionally and the righty Mike Napoli unintentionally on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, but Willits struck out swinging at a 1-2 pitch for the third out.
Both Madson and Lidge were shaky, but they combined to throw two scoreless innings the day before an off-day. Lidge needed 24 pitches, Madson 14.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty Jared Weaver went (1) Rollins (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Jenkins (8) Ruiz. Dobbs plays third against the righty and hits second, putting three lefties in a row 2-3-4 for the Phils. Victorino, who came into the game 2-for-his-last-14, moves down to sixth in the order. Jenkins plays right against the righty. Ruiz catches. Utley returns to the lineup after a day off.
Rollins led off the first with a single and stole second. Dobbs walked, putting men on first and second with nobody out before Utley flew to left. With Howard at the plate Rollins and Dobbs pulled off a double-steal, but Howard struck out and Burrell struck out to leave them both stranded.
Howard strikes out with a man on third and one out. The Phils got a hit, a walk and three stolen bases in the frame but cannot score.
Victorino started the second with a walk but the next three Phils went in order behind him.
With two outs in the third, Utley put an end to an 0-for-24 with a double to right-center. Howard followed with a single to right and the Phils were on the board at 3-1. Burrell popped to third for the third out.
Jenkins walked with one out in the fourth, but Ruiz grounded to short and Hamels struck out.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth.
Howard led off the sixth with a single. Weaver struck out Burrell for the first out and lefty Darren Oliver came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino his hitting. 218 against lefties and .301 against righties. Oliver got Victorino to hit a ground ball to second and Howard was forced at second for the first out. Werth hit for Jenkins and the lefty Oliver stayed in to pitch to him and got Werth on a ground ball back to the mound to end the inning. Brave move to leave Oliver in to face Werth and it worked for Anaheim.
Ruiz led off the seventh with a walk. With Oliver still on the mound, Feliz hit for Hamels and grounded to third. Figgins threw Feliz out at first with Ruiz going to second. Rollins was next and he ripped a double down the third base line and just barely off the tip of Figgins’ glove. Ruiz scored and it was 3-2. Coste hit for Dobbs and Anaheim brought in righty Scott Shields. Shields struck out Coste and Utley to end the inning.
Even without the benefit of hindsight I would have rather had Dobbs against Oliver with Shields on the bench. Bringing in Shields to pitch to Coste meant Utley got the righty, too, but that didn’t seem to be a problem for Shields.
1-2-3 in the eighth. Willits made a nice diving play on a line drive by Burrell for the second out.
Werth led off the ninth with a ball down the third base line. Figgins made a nice play to pick and Kotchman made a nice scoop to nip Werth for the first out. Ruiz grounded to short for the second out before Feliz singled to left. Bruntlett ran for Feliz and stole second. It put the tying run in scoring position for Rollins and Rollins was walked intentionally with Lidge due to hit behind him. Taguchi hit for Lidge with the winning run on base. He got ahead 2-0 before he fouled out to third on a pitch out of the strike zone to end the game.
That could have worked out better with Utley due to hit behind Taguchi.
Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two stolen bases. 2-for-12 in the series. He’s hitting 282/346/455 for the year.
Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a walk. 0-for-4 in the series. 347/387/480 for the year. Feliz was 1-for-2 in the game and 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 261/313/415 for the season.
Utley 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. 1-for-7 with a double in the set. 291/379/599 for the season.
Howard 2-for-4 with an RBI in the game and 2-for-11 in the series. He’s hitting 220/316/474 for the year.
Burrell was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four men left on base. 1-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts in the series. 271/411/571 for the year. 1-for-his-last-19.
Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-10 in the series. 270/343/377 on the year. He’s hitting .221 in June.
Jenkins 0-for-1 in the game and 0-for-6 in the set. He’s 1-for-his-last-23. 249/300/393. Werth was 0-for-2 in the game and 1-for-5 with a home run in the series. He’s hitting 266/350/500.
Ruiz was 0-for-3 with a walk in his only action of the series. 226/310/305 for the year with nine extra-base hits. Coste was 0-for-1 yesterday and 2-for-6 with a double in the series. 307/371/528.
No game today.