The Phillies miserable skid may not be over, but at least May finally is. The Phils went 2-7 to end the month and scored ten runs in those nine games while being shut out five times.
The nosedive has now cost them the lead in the division to good Atlanta team. Not as good as the Phillies, but good and more than good enough to take the division if the Phils continue to play like they don’t belong.
What does it take for the Phillies to win these days? Well, Roy Halladay showed us all Saturday as he threw the 20th perfect game in major league history. The Phils won 1-0 with a lot of help from a three-base error by Cameron Maybin. The Phils somehow managed to win that three-game set with the Marlins despite scoring four runs in the series. They jumped right back into the swing of things after that, though, getting shut out on Sunday before Tommy Hanson took a shutout into the seventh inning against them yesterday.
Charlie Manuel has tried just about everything now. Meetings, benchings, changing the lineup and getting ejected. None of it is working and slump isn’t the right word for what’s happening to the Phillies anymore.
The Phillies are 28-22 on the year after a 9-3 loss to Atlanta yesterday afternoon. They are in second place in the NL East, a half game behind the Braves.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk. Only four of the runs were earned. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run by Chipper Jones. He struck out two. Blanton has been awful this year. He has now thrown to the same 1.32 ratio in 2010 as he did in 2009, but with a 5.68 ERA in ’10 compared to a 4.05 for 2009. He’s giving up more hits and more home runs and his strikeouts are way down — in 2009 he struck out 7.5 batters per nine innings and so far in 2010 he’s struck out 4.5 batters per nine innings.
Martin Prado singled to center to start the bottom of the first. Jason Heyward flew to Victorino for the first out before Chipper hit a 3-2 pitch out to right to put Atlanta up 2-0. Brain McCann flew to center for the second out before Troy Glaus hit a ball to right that Gload butchered for a two-base error. Eric Hinske singled to right and Glaus scored to make it 3-0. Yunel Escobar flew to right to end the inning.
Gload’s error proves costly to the Phils.
The pitcher Tommy Hanson singled to right with one out in the second, but Blanton got Prado on a ball hit out in front of the plate that Ruiz handled and struck Heyward out looking to leave him stranded.
McCann walked with one out in the third and moved to third when Glaus followed with a single. Hinske hit a ball to first that Howard didn’t handle for another Phillies error. McCann scored, 4-0, and Glaus went to third with Hinske safe at second. Escobar singled into center and both runners scored, but Victorino threw Escobar out trying to stretch it into a double. Blanton got Nate McLouth to pop to short to end the inning with the Phils down 6-0.
Two errors in three innings lead to two unearned runs for Atlanta.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.
Escobar singled with one out in the sixth. Blanton got McLouth to pop to short for the second out before a Hanson single sent Escobar to third. Prado grounded to second to leave both men stranded.
The Atlanta lead was cut to 6-3 when Bastardo started the seventh. Chipper singled with one out and Omar Infante ran for him at first. A walk to McCann put men on first and second and Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Glaus. Glaus hit his first pitch out to center to extend the lead to 9-3. Gregor Blanco followed that with a double, but Durbin got the next two to leave him at second.
Lidge threw a 1-2-3 eighth, getting a strikeout and two ground balls to lower his ERA to 2.08 on the year.
Bastardo threw 22 pitches in the game. Lidge 13 and Durbin seven.
The Phillies lineup against righty Tommy Hanson went (1) Gload (2) Dobbs (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Victorino (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Well that’s different. Gload in right. Dobbs at third. Victorino dropped to fifth. The Phils go four lefties, switch, lefty at the top of their order.
Dobbs walked with one out in the first and moved to third when Utley followed with a single. Howard hit into a double-play to turn them away.
Down 3-0, Victorino walked to start the second. He stole second before Ibanez walked. Ruiz flew to center and Valdez hit into a double-play.
Blanton started the third with a single. Gload popped to third before Blanton took second on a passed ball. Dobbs flew to left and Utley flew to left. Manuel was ejected during the Dobbs at-bat. The home plate ump ruled Dobbs had been hit by a pitch. Bobby Cox argued that he hadn’t and the call was overturned with Dobbs not getting to take his base. Manuel argued that decision and got tossed. Dobbs wasn’t hit by the pitch.
Third straight inning the Phils put a runner on second without scoring.
The Phillies went in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
They were down 6-0 when they faced Hanson in the seventh. Ibanez doubled with two outs and righty Peter Moylan came in to pitch to Ruiz. Ruiz doubled to right and Ibanez scored. 6-1. Valdez doubled to left and Ruiz scored. 6-2. Francisco hit for Blanton and he doubled to left-center. 6-3. Lefty Jonny Venters came in to pitch to Gload and hit him, putting men on first and second with two down. The righty Castro hit for the lefty Dobbs and grounded to second for the third out.
Down 9-3, the Phils went in order in the eighth.
Ruiz walked with one out in the ninth. Valdez struck out and Francisco flew to right to end the game.
Gload was 0-for-3 in the game and has proved not to be the magic bullet that pulls the Phils out of their slump. He’s 1-for-his-last-7 and hitting 222/243/389 on the year.
Dobbs was 0-for-2 with a walk. He’s 2-for-27 in May and hitting 125/208/250 for the year. That’s really bad.
Utley was 1-for-4 yesterday. He’s 3-for-his-last-27 with three singles.
Howard was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-his-last-20.
Victorino 0-for-3 with a walk hitting out of the five-hole. He’s been really good this month, hitting 284/357/509 in 116 at-bats.
Ibanez 1-for-3 with a double. He’s 2-for-his-last-12.
Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He’s 4-for-his-last-10 with a double and two walks.
Valdez was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-15 with two doubles and hitting 250/260/375 for the year. Castro was 0-for-1 yesterday. He’s 2-for-his-last-9 and hitting 250/277/307 for the year. Castro and Valdez have combined to get 160 at-bats for the Phils this season.
Werth didn’t play yesterday and is 0-for-his-last-19 with 11 strikeouts.
Polanco has not played since Thursday due to problems with his left elbow. This says the Phillies should know when he will be able to return today.
The linked article also says that Nelson Figueroa was designated for assignment when Lidge was activated.
Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.82) faces righty Tim Hudson (5-1, 2.24) tonight. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last five starts. Hudson has allowed more than two runs in a start just once in ten outings this year. Opponents are hitting 212/299/301 against him for the year.