Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week 4 In Review

After an encouraging end to last week, one in which the team took two out of three games against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phillies fell flat on their faces against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

They would lose three out of four and in ugly fashion.

Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park and allowed two runs in five innings. The Phillies would win that game 3-2 with just enough offense.

The next three games were marred by a struggling Phillies bullpen. The Phillies twice had a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning or later, and the bullpen failed to hold the lead both times. They came into today with a 4.36 earned run average which ranks 23rd in major league baseball.

When the team is inconsistent at the plate like the Phillies have been, the bullpen is crucial in keeping the deficit what it is. Wednesday night, Antonio Bastardo inherited a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning, only to allow a solo home run.

The next inning, setup man Mike Adams, a dependable eighth inning pitcher in his career, failed to record an out in the eighth. He allowed two runs to score on two hits and also walked to Pirates.

Jeremy Horst allowed an insurance run in the ninth and the Pirates won the game 5-3. All told, four runs on five hits and two walks all coming with a 3-1 after the sixth inning.

The next day, an afternoon business person special, was more of the same, except this time the bullpen inherited a tie game. Starter Cliff Lee was sharp for most of the day, but gave up his 3-1 lead in the seventh inning.

Philippe Aumont began the eighth and only recorded one out. He gave way to Chad Durbin, who has allowed nearly every runner he’s inherited to score this year. He recorded the final two outs, but not before allowing three runners to cross the plate.

All runs were charged to Aumont and he was saddled with the loss.

As frustrating as the Pittsburgh series was, the team would rebound in a big way against their arch rival New York Mets.

The starting pitching has done an admirable job for the most part this April, not letting many games get away from them.

Kyle Kendrick started Friday night at Citi Field and went the distance. He turned in a complete game three hit shutout, and walked only one hitter. The Phillies won 4-0 and their offense really started hit consistently.

The next day, another day game, they exploded for nine runs, the big blows coming from Domonic Brown and John Mayberry, Jr. who hit back to back home runs to break the game open. A real encouraging sign for the team was that Brown’s home run, along with a RBI single from Ryan Howard, came against left handed pitching.

The team has struggled mightily this season against lefties, hitting at a .214 clip, and fourth worst in the major leagues.

Brown and Mayberry would team up again on Sunday, when Mayberry came through with a one out double in the eighth inning to score Brown all the way from first base.

Fueling the up and down offense this week has been Ryan Howard, who very quietly is riding a 10 game hitting streak, hitting .361 with 11 RBI and 5 extra base hits in that span.

Third baseman Michael Young, who had a double digit game hitting streak of his own earlier this month, earned his 31st hit of the season today, good for second in the national league only to Shin-Soo Choo of the Reds.

Chase Utley has also had a great start to the season, leading the team in runs scored (14), home runs (4) and runs batted in with 17.

The Phillies wound end up outscoring the Mets 18 to 5 for series and out hitting them 29 to 14.

Sweeping the Mets at Citi Field and in the ways they did, great starting pitching, balanced scoring on offense and late inning shut downs from the bullpen could go a long way in boosting the confidence of this bunch as they head into May.

Quite a departure from the dreadful way they started the week against Pittsburgh.

Sunday also marked the return of catcher and fan favorite Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz from a 25 suspension for an illegal substance. His presence behind and at the plate, coupled with the team’s improved hitting will be play a big part in the team’s performance going forward.

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