- Updated: May 25, 2014
The 2014 Philadelphia Phillies can be summed up in one word…Frustration.
Nearly two months into the 162 game season, this team just can’t hit consistently. They win three, then lose three. They’ll go scoreless for innings at a time, only to score a ton in fewer innings. Two steps forward, and then two steps back.
Today’s series finale provided the best illustration of this team’s flaws and shortcomings. They were shutout for the second time in three games. Friday night they collected just three hits, and failed to capitalize on three golden opportunities with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. Yesterday they rebounded, putting up five runs and leaving only four men on base. Still, players like Ryan Howard just have not been able to hit regularly. Howard struck out three times on Friday night, and twice yesterday.
Today they faced Josh Beckett, an old nemesis of sorts from his days as a Florida Marlin, and even in interleague play when Beckett was with the Red Sox. He took advantage of impatient Phillie hitters this afternoon. Beckett through 24 pitches in the first inning, but settled in from there. The Phillies helped him out by swinging at pitches early in the count, keeping his pitch count down. He would finish the day with 128 pitches, good enough for his first career no hit, no run game.
A.J. Burnett started today for the Phillies, and did not have his best game. Second baseman Dee Gordon has been a thorn in the Phillies’ side all series, and he led off today’s game with another single, followed by a stolen base. He would reach third and eventually score on a double by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for a 1-0 Dodger lead. Third baseman Josh Turner led off the second with a solo home run against Burnett, making it a 2-0 Los Angeles lead. That is all Beckett would really need, but the Dodgers would tack on four more runs as the afternoon went on.
Beckett did walk three Phillies on the day, but also struck out six. The later innings were especially dismal for the Phillies, as they were retired 1,2,3 in both the seventh and eighth. The ninth inning saw Beckett get Tony Gwynn, Jr. to pop out, followed by a Ben Revere ground out on the first pitch he saw. Jimmy Rollins was able to work a two out walk, and took second on defensive indifference.
The last batter was Chase Utley, who worked a full count. Beckett’s 128th and final pitch of the day was a tad low, but home plate umpire Brian Knight deemed it too close to take and called strike three. Beckett’s final line was 9 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 6 K.
It was the first time the Phillies were no-hit in Philadelphia since 1969 when Bill Stoneman of the Montreal Expos held them hitless at Connie Mack Stadium. The last time the Phillies were no-hit overall for nine innings was in 1978 when Bob Forsch did it for the Cardinals in St. Louis.
A.J. Burnett wound up going seven innings and allowed 11 hits and four earned runs. He let the game get away as he progressed, allowing Beckett to relax a little more with a six run lead to work with.
If nothing else, the silver lining to this game might be a loud wake up call for the Phillies. Let’s face facts, NO ONE ever wants to get no-hit. Though they tipped their cap to the opponent on this day, they should be embarrassed and very dissatisfied with how they played today and how they’ve been playing all season offensively. An experience like this can humble players, and also light a fire under their behind.
The usually stoic Ryne Sandberg should be a bit more animated and upset after this series, and the man of few words needs to have an earful for his players moving forward.
Or else, they just might go hitless again…and again.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of SportsandWrestling.MyWowBB.com