Philly Sports Live

Road Brew

After getting swept right out of Pittsburgh, the Phillies kicked off a four game series in Milwaukee tonight at Miller Park. The team limped into tonight’s game with a 1-5 record so far on this 10 game trip, hitting a measly .170 in those games.

The lack of punch at the plate has been in a word, awful. The Phillies have shown very little plate discipline of late, making a lot of quick outs. In their last 6 games, Phillie hitters have worked just 13 walks. They simply don’t see enough pitches to work the base on balls. Opposing pitchers have been treated to two or three pitch at-bats and 10 to 12 pitch innings.

You have to really feel for the pitching staff, because though they are far from perfect, they have kept games close for the most part in 2014. The club earned run average of 3.90 is respectable, given that many times the starter has turned in a quality start only to be saddled with a loss or no decision.

No starter has been more victimized by the offense than tonight’s starter, Cole Hamels. Hamels came into tonight with an ERA of 2.98, the best of any Phils starter. Opponents are hitting just .238 against Hamels, and he now has 101 strikeouts to go along with just 35 walks. Yet, his record sits at 2-5. Again, no decisions and losses that could, and should have been wins.

Tonight Hamels was given a rare gift…the lead.

The Phillies struck first against Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada. Estrada came into tonight with 26 home runs allowed, the most in the majors. The Phillies added another long ball to his total, when Chase Utley hit a two run shot with Ben Revere on second. The Phillies added another run in the third when Utley scored on a single by Ryan Howard, making it 3-0 Phillies.

This marked the first time the Phillies had a lead of three or more runs since June 24th.

Hamels cruised through the first four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth. The Brewers got the leadoff man on, followed by a fielding error by Cody Asche. Jean Segura followed with a single to load the bases for Estrada’s spot. Jeff Bianchi would pinch hit and singled home two runs to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. On the play, Marlon Byrd was able to throw out Segura attempting to reach third for a big first out. Hamels would get through the inning without further damage.

Hamels would fight through 6.2 innings. He departed with two outs in the seventh with two men on. Cole allowed one run and one unearned run on seven hits to along with seven strikeouts. He was relieved by Ken “100 Miles” Giles, and the young flamethrower got Rickie Weeks to fly out deep to center to end the threat.

Giles would pitch a scoreless eighth, though he did allow a lead-off double to Ryan Braun. This was easily the biggest spot of the young hurler’s career, and he came through with a gutsy inning and a third.

Jonathan Papelbon would come in for the ninth inning, and Paps earned his 20th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He and Giles combined for 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit and each had a strikeout. Papelbon lowered his season ERA to 1.31.

The Phils need wins, and getting one to start the series against the best team in the National League is a great way to start. They’re back at it tomorrow night when Kyle Kendrick takes the mound for the Phils. First pitch slated for 8:10 eastern time.

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