The Phillies needed to shake things up their lineup and they did. It didn’t work, though, and it was rather dramatic about not working. The Phils dropped the slumping Rollins out of the leadoff spot and stacked their lineup with righties against lefty Jaime Garcia. They scored one run in the game and found themselves without a solid right-handed bat off the bench late in the game. They’ve scored two runs in two games, lost four in a row and six of seven since the All-Star break.
Joe Blanton pitched great. For a while. The game was knotted at 1-1 when the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh. With the lefty Garcia still on the mound for St Louis, Manuel let Blanton hit for himself and Blanton struck out on three pitches. The Phillies didn’t score again and the Cardinals went on to plate four more runs.
The decision sure looks bad right now. But Manuel had four lefties and Wilson Valdez on his bench, the Phils were playing game seven of 18 games in 18 days and had gotten one inning from their starter the day before.
Whether you like what Manuel did last night or not, the problems for the Phils are a lot bigger than one decision or even the results of one game. The Phils are in third place in their division and the fourth-place Marlins are just two games behind. They have the ninth-best record in the 16-team National League. If they don’t start playing a lot better soon, it’s not going to matter that they have nothing like the ninth-most talent.
The Phillies are 48-46 on the year after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 5-1 last night.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned. He struck out three and has a 6.03 ERA for the season.
He set down the first six St Louis batters before Yadier Molina started the third with a walk. The pitcher Jaime Garcia was next and he bunted Molina to second with the first out. Brendan Ryan flew to right and Felipe Lopez grounded to second to leave Molina stranded.
Jon Jay doubled to start the fourth and came in to score when Pujols followed with a single to left. 1-0. Matt Holliday flew to left for the first out before Pujols stole second. Blanton struck Colby Rasmus out swinging 2-2 and Ruiz picked Pujols off of second to end the inning.
Molina singled to left with one out in the fifth and the game tied at 1-1. Garcia tried to bunt him to second again, but this time Ruiz jumped on the ball and threw to Rollins where Molina was forced for the second out. Ryan grounded to short for the third out.
Jay singled with one out in the sixth, but Blanton got Pujols to hit into a double-play behind him. Ransom made a really nice play on the ball hit by Pujols, diving to his right to field the ball and start the double-play.
Holliday hit Blanton’s first pitch of the seventh out to left, put the Cards up 2-1. Blanton got the next three hitters behind him.
Aaron Miles started the eighth with a single. Ryan was next and he bunted. Ruiz again fielded the ball, but this time his throw was wild for an error and St Louis had men on second and third with nobody out. Lopez was next and he split the gap in right center with a bases clearing double. 4-1. Romero took over for Blanton and the lefty Jay bunted Lopez to third with the first out. Romero walked the righty Pujols intentionally and Contreras came in to pitch to the righty Holliday and hit him to load the bases. Rasmus was next and he hit a ball to right deep enough for Lopez to tag and score, making it 5-1 St Louis. Contreras stuck out pitcher Ryan Franklin for the third out.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Jaime Garcia went (1) Polanco (2) Victorino (3) Francisco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ransom (8) Ruiz. Ransom starts at second for the first time this year. Ibanez on the bench against the lefty with Francisco in right. Rollins dropped to sixth in the order with Polanco hitting leadoff and Victorino batting second. It left the Phillies with lefties Dobbs, Gload, Schneider and Ibanez on the bench and just one righty in Valdez.
The Phillies didn’t have a base runner in the first four innings.
They started the fifth down 1-0. Howard led off an hit an 0-1 pitch out to right, tying the game at 1-1. Werth and Rollins both flew out behind him before Ransom singled to left. Ruiz flew to center to leave Ransom stranded.
With two outs in the sixth, Victorino singled and stole second. Francisco grounded to third for the third out.
Werth walked with one out in the seventh and moved to second when Rollins followed with a single. Ransom struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out before Ruiz walked to load the bases. Manuel left Blanton in to hit for himself with the bases loaded and the score still tied at 1-1. Blanton swung and missed at the first three pitches he saw to leave all three runners stranded.
The Phils were down 2-1 when they hit in the eighth. Righty Kyle McClellan got Polanco on a fly ball to right for the first out. Victorino was next and hit a ball to second that went under Skip Schumaker’s glove for an error. Victorino was running hard all the way and wound up on second. He moved to third on a ground out by Francisco and lefty Trever Miller came in to pitch to Howard. Miller walked Howard to put men on first and third for Werth. Righty Ryan Franklin came in and got Werth on a ground ball to second to leave both men stranded.
Rollins, Ibanez and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs went in order in the ninth with the Phils down 5-1.
Polanco was 0-for-4.
Francisco 0-for-4. He’s 3-for-his-last-20.
1-for-12 with a single for the top three in the order.
Howard 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk. He’s hitting 319/380/681 in July.
Werth 0-for-3 with a walk.
Ransom 1-for-3 with two strikeouts, including a big one in the seventh. He also made a very nice defensive play in the sixth to start a double-play.
Ruiz was 0-for-2 with a walk.
Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.63) faces righty Adam Wainwright (14-5, 2.02) this afternoon. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last four starts. In those outings he’s thrown to a 2.20 ERA. He’s allowed more than three earned runs just one in his last 14 times out. Wainwright is still fantastic. He has allowed one earned run in 29 1/3 innings over his last four starts. Opponents are hitting .214 against him for the season.