Philly Sports Live

Phillies Week 7 In Review

It’s been an unusual week for the Phillies schedule wise. They had an off day Monday, and did not play a game on Thursday night in order to take part in the annual Phillies Phestival autograph and auction event to raise money for ALS research.

These off days made it a week of just three games heading into the weekend. The Phils won two of those games, both of which were against teams from Ohio. The Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Red respectively.

Tuesday night saw them beat the Indians 6-2. This was a very welcome sight after the Indians outscored the Phillies 20-2 in a two game series a few weeks ago.

Jonathan Pettibone started this game and turned in another strong performance. He allowed two runs on four hits in 6.2 innings pitched. It was his longest outing of the season. With the injury to Roy Halladay and the inconsistencies of ace Cole Hamels and the Phillies bullpen, Pettibone has been a Godsend.

Called up to replace the injured John Lannan, Pettibone is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA. They’ve won every game he’s started, and he’s done a great job of keeping his team in the game.

Ditto Kyle Kendrick, who apart from yesterday has done the same. Yes they’ve both benefitted from better run support then Hamels has, but for the most part Pettibone and Kendrick have avoided big innings and kept the opposition in check.

Speaking of Hamels, he got the start on Wednesday afternoon against the Indians, and they put up a 10 spot, beating the Phillies 10-4. Hamels’ record on the year dropped to 1-6 and his ERA is now 4.61. His biggest struggle in 2013 has been command. He walked two more on Wednesday for a total of 24 on the year, tied for second highest in the National League to only Tim Lincecum.

Hamels earned the start on opening day in spring training, this on the heels of signing a mega contract extension to remain in Philadelphia. Pitching coach Rich Dubee, along with some teammates have agreed that Hamels’ stuff is fine, but he may be pressing a bit with the lack of run support he’s received.

The bottom line is he’s much more talented than his record shows, and it’s probably a matter of taking a deep breath and slowing it down a bit. At the end of the day, it’s not the statistics that matter; it’s the wins and losses.

To the Phillies credit, again putting yesterday aside, the offense has been respectable the previous five games. They won again on Friday night against the Reds, one in which they had the lead, lost it, and then regained it for the win. Those kinds of wins can go a long way for team trying to get confident and make a run.

The most maddening and still undependable part of the team has been the bullpen.

This excludes closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is a perfect eight for eight in save opportunities this season and has not allowed a run since the first game he pitched in this year back in April.

The same can’t be said for the rest of the bunch. According to Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, the Phillies’ relievers have allowed 25 of 52 inherited runners to score. That’s almost a 50 percent success rate for the opposition, and the worst percentage in the major leagues for the Phillies.

On Friday night, Antonio Bastardo was brought in to pitch the eighth with the Phillies ahead 3-2. He promptly gave up a solo home run to Joey Votto that tied the game at that point. Mind you he was brought in to get a left handed hitter out, and not only failed to do so, but allowed a game tying home run.

Another sore spot in the ‘pen has been Chad Durbin. He allowed two more runs yesterday afternoon and pushed his ERA up to 7.36. In 11 innings pitched this season, Durbin has allowed 13 hits, 9 runs and has walked five batters. The runs statistic is a bit misleading when you factor in the inherited runners that have scored on his watch. Not was the Phillies were hoping for when they brought him back this winter for a second tour of duty.

Earlier this week, the team sent left hander Raul Valdes down to Triple-A and called up B.J. Rosenberg. Valdes departed with a 7.65 ERA, and in less than two innings of work, Rosenberg’s ERA is already above 20. Not be left out is lefty Jeremy Horst, who has also struggled with inherited runners. His earned run average is 5.19.

Even with their frustrations at the plate and the problems in the bullpen, the Phillies sit a modest four and a half games back of first in the National League East. After a hot start, the Atlanta Braves have come back down to Earth. The Washington Nationals have also been up and down in recent weeks, so the division is certainly up for grabs.

With that in mind, it’s up the Phillies players to find the drive that won them five straight division titles and willed them to victory. They have just as good a chance as anyone right now, but what will they do with it?

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