Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week 6 in Review

Through five weeks, it’s still hard to judge where exactly the Philadelphia Phillies are as a team. Last week they managed to lose a series to one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. Hits were scarce and when men did reach base, they were often stranded. The offense was pressing, often sputtering to little or no runs in support of a starting rotation that has frequently kept them in games late.

Then there’s weeks like this one. The Phillies have struggled to win games at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It’s a pitching friendly venue where the ball does not carry all that well, and the outfield has the feel of a cavern with deep alley ways.

Yet, the Phillies showed up, and put a hurting on Madison Bumgarner & former Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. They were able to get men on base and wear out both Giant starters. Still, they went a combined 4-20 with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of 16 men on base for the two wins in San Fran. Starters Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick both turned in very solid outings, allowing just two runs each and combining for 12 strikeouts.

Lee has enjoyed success in the city by the bay, going 4-0 with an earned run average of 0.84 in five career starts there. It was also the site of his first career start as a Phillie, one in which he flirted with a no-hitter.

Another great performance came from Jonathan Pettibone on getaway day. Aside from four walks, he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched. He worked in and out of trouble all afternoon, but kept the Giants at bay. Giants’ starter Barry Zito stymied the Phillies for just one run on four hits in seven strong innings. The Phillies were able to tie the game in the bottom of ninth, but would go on to lose it in the 10th inning.

Still, it was a series win in a city where they’ve had minimal success for a long time.

Wednesday afternoon’s loss did however mark the return of the Phillies that we’ve seen a lot of this season. They received two great starts on Thursday and Friday night from Cole Hamels and recent call up Tyler Cloyd.

Hamels went six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He continued to struggle with command, however, walking five batters on the night. The Phillies went 1-8 with runners in scoring position, finishing with just one run on six hits all night. Hamels’ record dropped to 1-5.

Cloyd had a similar outing the next night, allowing just two runs on two hits. The Phillies struggled against with men on base, finishing the night 1-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving eight men on base. They scored two runs on seven hits and lost the game 4-2.

Last night runs were still at a premium with Cliff Lee back on the hill. Lee threw seven shutout innings and allowed six hits. Jonathan Papelbon was called upon for a five out save, and after escaping a bases loaded jam allowing just one run in the eighth, he found himself in trouble again in the ninth.

With runners on second and third, one out and the winning run at the plate, Pap struck out Eric Hinske and A. J. Pollock to secure the victory.

The Jekyll and Hyde syndrome was on full display again this week. The Phillies had the bases loaded twice against Lincecum on Tuesday. They took advantage of a guy struggling with control and command to work walks and wait for pitches to hit.

Zito is a pitcher they’ve not seen very much of and therefore haven’t been successful against. Beyond that, the offense went dormant again for the first two games in Arizona. Even with the win last night, they were 3-13 with men in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

Taking the 10th inning loss into account, the bullpen has really been solid this week as well. In 13 2/3 innings, they’ve allowed three runs on 12 hits. Granted two of those runs would go on to win games for the opposing teams, but the bullpen did their job this week for better or worse.

It all comes back to the offense and putting up runs consistently. Something the Phillies just have not been able to do.

Still, they come into today’s game at 4:05 with a chance for a series split with the Dbacks and winning road trip.

Kyle Kendrick enters today with a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 2.45. He gets the call for the Phillies today against Brandon McCarthy for Arizona. McCarthy is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA.

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