This is getting out of hand.
The Phils drop two of three to the division-leading Braves, falling six games back in the NL East. Jamie Moyer is going to have some six-run innings and the inexperienced pitchers in the pen can be counted on to occasionally allow three runs over a four-batter span in the top of the eleventh. But the Phillies need to hit and they aren’t. Valdez and Sardinha combined to go 1-for-20 in the series. That’s a whole lot less of a problem, though, than the 6-for-38 with a walk that Rollins, Victorino and Werth combined to put up.
The key hitters for the Phillies just aren’t getting it done and they haven’t been for a long time.
The why questions are the hard ones and I don’t know the answer. I do think it’s time we all confront the elephant in the room and put the blame where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of Jayson Werth’s Geico beard.
That thing is atrocious. I’m worried it may be blocking out the guys in the bullpen trying to steal signs from the catcher. Please, please shave. I don’t feel confident it will make things better, but I’m not sure how it could make them worse.
The chart below shows the number of times in the past 25 years the Phillies have won the World Series in the Pre and Post Beard eras:
|# of times the Phillies have
won the World Series in the past 25 years
There it is in black and white.
Seventy-nine games left to play.
Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?
The Phillies are 43-40 on the season after losing to the Atlanta Braves 7-5 last night. The Braves take the series two games to one. The Phils are in third place in the NL East. They trail the Braves by six games and the Mets by three.
Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and three home runs. He struck out three.
Martin Prado led off the game and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left to put the Braves up 1-0. Moyer got the next three behind him.
He threw a 1-2-3 second.
The game was tied at 1-1 when he set Atlanta down in order in the third.
Omar Infante started the fourth with what looked like a routine ground ball to short, but Rollins was slow and Infante ran hard and was safe with an infield single. Moyer got the next three to leave him stranded. Victorino made a shoestring catch on a liner hit by Brian McCann for the third out.
He threw a 1-2-3 fifth.
The Phils were ahead 3-1 when he started the sixth. Moyer struck out the pitcher Kris Medlen for the first out, but Prado was next and homered again, this time on a 3-2 pitch. It cut the lead to 3-2. Infante followed that with a single and moved to third when Chipper Jones doubled softly to right. Troy Glaus walked to load the bases and McCann cleared them with a three-run double to the gap in left center. 5-3 Atlanta. Matt Diaz was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch out to center for his first home run of the season. 7-3. Baez took over for Moyer and allowed a two-out double to Melky Cabrera before striking out Medlen to finally end the frame.
Figueroa pitched the seventh. Prado reached on an infield single to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball after Infante flew to right for the first out. Chipper flew to center with Prado tagging and moving to third. Glaus flew to right to leave him stranded.
Figueroa was back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth.
Figueroa was recalled from Triple-A on June 24. Since then he has made three appearances for the Phils in which he has allowed one hit and one walk in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Contreras pitched the ninth with the Phillies down 7-5. Cabrera led off with a double, but Contreras got a strike out and a popup before getting Infante on a ground ball to short to leave Cabrera stranded.
Figueroa threw 22 pitches in the game. Contreras, pitching for the second day in a row, threw 15. Baez threw 12.
It just the second appearance since June 27 for Baez. In those appearances he has thrown 19 pitches over one inning.
The Phillies lineup against righty Kris Medlen went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Dobbs (7) Valdez (8) Sardinha. Sardinha keeps on catching. Valdez at second. Dobbs plays third against the righty.
Rollins led off the first with a single with the Phils down 1-0. A one-out walk to Ibanez moved him to second, but Howard struck out for the second out behind him. Werth was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Dobbs, but Dobbs grounded to short to leave the runners stranded.
Valdez led off the second with a double. Sardinha struck out and Moyer struck out, but Rollins picked them up and doubled into the right field corner to tie the game at 1-1. Victorino grounded to second for the third out.
Rollins 2-for-2 through two innings.
Howard singled with one out in the third, but Werth and Dobbs went down behind him.
1-2-3 in the fourth.
Ibanez walked with two outs in the fifth. Howard was next and he hit a 1-0 pitch out to left to put the Phillies up 3-1. Werth grounded to second for the third out.
The were losing 7-3 when they hit in the bottom of the sixth. Dobbs led off with a single and Valdez hit into a double-play behind him. Sardinha struck out swinging for the third out.
That’s 14 GIDP on the year for Valdez. 14??!
Victorino chased Medlen from the game with a two-out homer in the seventh that cut the lead to 7-4. Lefty Jonny Venters got Ibanez to pop to second for the third out.
Dobbs singled to left with one out in the eighth. With righty Takashi Saito on the mound for Atlanta, Gload hit for Figueroa and singled to center, sending Dobbs to third. Francisco hit for Sardinha with Saito still on the mound. He quickly got behind 0-2, but hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle for an RBI-single that scored Dobbs and made it 7-5. Castro, who had entered with Baez in the seventh, popped up on the infield to leave the runners stranded on first and second.
Great at-bat for Francisco against the righty.
Billy Wagner set Rollins, Victorino and Ibanez down in order in the ninth.
Rollins was 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI in the game. 2-for-13 with a walk in the series. 255/358/471 on the season. He’s 12-for-61 (.198) since returning from the DL.
Victorino was 1-for-5 with his 13th home run last night. He was 2-for-14 in the series and hasn’t walked in his last 34 at-bats. 251/319/448 on the year. You can’t hit second if you on-base .319.
Rollins and Victorino combine to go 4-for-27 (.148) with a walk in the series.
Ibanez was 0-for-3 and walked twice. He was 3-for-11 with a home run and three walks in the series. 242/329/397.
Howard was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI as he continues to pound the ball to the opposite field. 5-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the set. He’s at 298/351/514 for the year.
Werth was 0-for-3 in the game and was 2-for-11 in the series. He’s 3-for-23 with a walk in July and hitting 279/365/518 for the year.
Dobbs was 2-for-4 in the game. 4-for-8 with a home run, a walk and two RBI in the series. He’s 8-for-his-last-23 and has his line on the year up to 196/260/304.
Valdez was 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 1-for-11 in the series. 252/270/390 on the year. Please take a moment to compare the slugging percentages for the season for Valdez and Ibanez.
Sardinha should get an award for catching so many games in a row in brutal weather. Not so much for hitting, though. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the game and 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in the series. He has 40 plate appearances with the Phillies this year and a career high of 49. He’s hit 205/225/375 for the Phils this season.
Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 4.70) faces righty Johnny Cueto (8-2, 3.56) as the Phils start a four-game set with the Reds. Kendrick has a 5.59 ERA and a 1.45 ratio over his past three starts. He’s fared pretty well against righties this season, but left-handed batters are hitting 318/376/555 against him. Cueto has not allowed more than one run in any of his last four starts, throwing to an 0.70 ERA over 25 2/3 innings. He’s been way better against lefties (225/292/376) than he has against righties (288/360/419) on the year.