Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week 5 in Review

This weekend everything set up perfectly for the Phillies to finally get back to .500. They came home for a four game set against the last place Miami Marlins. They were a combined 4-1 against the fish coming into last night. However, as each inning came and went last night, fans were painfully treated to something to they’ll see again and again.

Every time it seems like they’ve righted the ship, be a starting pitcher trying to find past greatness or a slugger yearning for consistent power, they almost immediately get snapped back to reality.

Just look at this past week.

They were riding high after a three game sweep of the hated New York Mets on their home turf. Say what you want about the Mets, but they’ve shown improvement at the plate in 2013 and they play well at home.

Sweeping them in the way the Phillies did, for example coming from behind in the series finale, it seemed like they had found that sparked they’ve so sorely lacked this year.

Yet, then the Phils showed up in Cleveland for a quick two game interleague series. Actually, they didn’t show up.

The Indians mauled the Phillies, outscoring them by 18 runs. The Indians had more hits on Tuesday night (17) than the Phils would have in both games combined (8). Roy Halladay, coming off three strong starts after struggling in his first two, was rocked for eight runs and nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Indians pounded Phillies pitching for seven home runs in a 14-2 drubbing.

Cliff Lee made his first start back in the Cleveland the next night, and he did not fare much better. He allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings pitched. Like Cole Hamels last night, Lee wasn’t helped by an offense that managed only three hits on the night and on runs.

These two games aside, the starting pitching has been respectable this season. They’ve had issues, but for the most part the team is in every game. They’ve lost because the hitters can’t put it together every day.

They score runs in spurts, but seem to press with runners in scoring position since it doesn’t happen very much. The Phillies also haven’t hit nearly as many home runs as they did a few years ago. They used to rely heavily on the long ball, now they’ll hit two or three in a game, then go five without one.

Still, when you face a team like the Marlins, if does offer the chance to stop the bleeding. They were able to do just that on Thursday and Friday.

One player who hasn’t disappointed this year is fourth starter Kyle Kendrick. Yes, he’s had some good run support, but since a rough opening start against the Royals, he has not allowed more than two runs in a start since. His earned run average is 2.43, tops on the team and good for tenth in the National League.

Another bright spot has been the play of recent call-up Jonathan Pettibone. In three starts, he’s allowed just six earned runs while striking out 13. His ERA is a solid 3.24.

The much maligned Phillies bullpen has been a non-factor for much of this week, simply because they’ve haven’t seen much action. They did help the cause Tuesday night in allowing more home runs to the Indians, but by the time Chad Durbin game in his team was down 8-1. Not exactly a close game.

Finally, as noted last night, Cole Hamels delivered another quality start, going eight strong and allowing just two runs. His team couldn’t muster any offense though, as they were stymied again by Marlins’ rookie Jose Fernandez. They faced him two weeks ago in Miami with similar results. He would allow a first inning single to Freddy Galvis, but nothing else.

The Phillies did not register another hit and would have just two men on base the next eight innings. They lost 2-0 and Hamels received yet another undeserved loss.

One might compare the 2013 Phillies to the rabbit that keeps getting a carrot dangled over its head. Just when it’s low enough to reach, it gets pulled away. The way this team has played, just when it seems like they’ve turned the corner, they reach a dead end.

They head to San Francisco next week for three game series against the defending champion Giants, who by the way are 10-4 at home. That will be followed by a four game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are ninth in the majors with a 3.63 team ERA.

It won’t be easy, and it just might make or break the season from there. You can’t win a playoff spot in April or May, but you can lose one for sure. Next week, even though it’s only May, will be the Phils chance to put up or shut up if they hope to contend past June or July this season.

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