Saturday, July 3, 2010

Phils struggling again, fall 5 GB

Just when you think they're out, they pull you back in.

The slump had finally appeared to be over. But injuries to Placido Polanco and Chase Utley seemed to demoralize the team which is once again sputtering.

A four-game set against Pittsburgh, the National League's worst team, was supposed to be a chance to gain some ground as a big series against Atlanta looms. But the Phillies dropped the first two games 3-2 and 2-0 respectively and once again appear to be in serious trouble.

Charlie Manuel is trying to mix things up to get the lineup going, but how in the world did Raul Ibanez bat second last night? Ibanez is the anti-top of the order hitter. He's not capable of doing the things a number one or two hitter needs to do and it showed.

In Raul's first at bat, he struck out on three pitches, going down looking. In his second at bat with two runners on and two outs, Ibanez popped out to the third baseman on the first pitch. In his third at bat, he doubled with the bases empty. In his fourth at bat, he grounded out weakly to the pitcher.

The team has a lot more problems than Ibanez not being an ideal candidate for the two slot, but that's a pitiful game for a two-hitter. Hopefully that's the first and last time we see him in that slot.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard need to take over before this season is lost. They are the veterans of the team and they need to lead by example. When Wilson Valdez and Dane Sardinha have been your source of power the last few games, you know things are bad. If Rollins and Howard can get hot and light a fire under the team, they may just be able to come out of this alive. If not, 2010 will be a disappointing year.

Kyle Kendrick goes tonight looking to turn things around and possibly secure his job. With J.A. Happ nearing a return, Kendrick looks to be the odd man out of the rotation.

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