Friday, June 22, 2012

Phils take 2 of 3 from Rox but look bad in doing so

The Phillies took 2-of-3 from the lowly Colorado Rockies to open their home-stand, but found a way to continue to make the same mistakes in the process.

Tuesday's 7-2 victory was a much needed boost for the team. Cole Hamels pitched eight outstanding innings and John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Ruiz each homered.

Wednesday's 7-6 win was just the Phillies' second walk-off victory of the season. But, there were several negatives in the game. Joe Blanton struggled, serving up three home runs over seven innings. Jonathan Papelbon once again struggled in a non-save situation, entering a tie game in the ninth and allowing Colorado to take a 6-5 lead. But the Phils rallied in the bottom of the ninth, capped by a walk-off error on a grounder from Placido Polanco that Todd Helton failed to keep his foot on the bag.

Last night's 4-1 defeat was a particularly embarrassing performance. Jimmy Rollins hit a lead-off home run against struggling Colorado pitcher Jeff Francis. That'd be it for the bats, which failed to support a great outing from Vance Worley. After his home run, Rollins returned to Mr. Pop-up. With runners at the corners and one out in the second inning, Rollins popped a 2-0 pitch to first base. In the bottom of the fifth, Rollins lead-off the inning with a pop-up to second base. Then, Rollins ended his night by grounding into a double-play to end the seventh. Ouch.

Worley worked with a 1-0 lead until the seventh, when Chris Nelson's fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot, put the Rox up 2-1. Michael Schwimer entered in the ninth and predictably allowed a two-run home run of his own.

The result doesn't quite feel as positive and it should. They won the series, but the way they played hte final two games has to leave a sour taste in the fans' mouths.

The Phils remain nine games behind Washington, just one game behind the slumping Marlins. They welcome Tampa Bay to town tonight, who at 38-31 are third in the AL East, 3.5 games behind the first place Yankees.

Cliff Lee ( 0-3, 3.48) will once again be in search of his first victory of the season. It'll be no easy task, as James Shields (7-4, 3.72) takes the mound for the Rays. Lee is 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA in his career against Tampa. Shields is 1-0 in just six career innings against the Phils with a 4.50 ERA and six strikeouts. Sheilds had a terrific April, going 4-0 with a 3.31 ERA. He was just 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA in May, but struck out 46 batters in just 37.2 innings. In June thus far, Shields is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts.

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