Monday, June 29, 2009

Phils rally to take two, Happ pitches a gem, Pitching problem continues

The Phillies' current mini winning streak was crucial in getting back on track. After dropping the first game in Toronto, the Mets and Marlins were right on the Phils' heels. Fortunately, after winning two straight to take the series, the Mets and Marlins lost two straight, falling to 2.5 and 3 games back respectively.

Despite Interleague Play mercifully ending, the Phillies aren't out of deep water yet. They travel to Atlanta for a three game set with the Braves who inched closer to the Phillies at five games back. The Phillies then find themselves hosting the Mets for three games, and likely facing Johan Santana in Sunday's series finale.

Obviously, it's still rather early and plenty can happen post all-star break, but this could be an important stretch for the Phillies. They need to establish a consistent level of play, and maintain it for an extended period of time.

J.A. Happ was excellent in Saturday's victory, throwing his first career complete game shutout. Happ has been one of the most, if not the most consistent pitcher for the Phillies this season, as apparent by his undefeated record.

News also emerged that Antonio Bastardo will miss his next scheduled start (Wednesday) and that Cole Hamels will pitch in his stead on normal rest. This begs the question, Why? Bastardo can't get major league hitters out with his single quality pitch, and therefore, shouldn't be in the major leagues. Jamie Moyer is already putting the team in a hole, as he did yesterday, just about every time he takes the mound. Bastardo should not be returning to the Phillies, and the team really needs a pitcher. Hamels, Happ and Joe Blanton make-up a solid 1-3 rotation. Unfortunately four and five just aren't getting it done right now.

Big series starting tomorrow in hotlanta, as Blanton looks to get the resumption of National League play off on the right foot. Charlie Manuel announced that Jimmy Rollins will be in the starting lineup.

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