Results tagged ‘ Offensive problems ’

Kendrick throws eight shutout innings as the Phils finally end long losing streak.

Behind the four hit, shutout pitching of Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies are able to finally end their longest losing streak of the season at six games as they defeat the A’s, 4-0. The Phillies would score their first run in the top of first, when, with two men on base, and one out, Pat Burrell would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jayson Werth, who first got on base with a walk, moved to second on Chase Utley’s bloop single and then was part of a double steal which got him to third, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fourth when Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI triple off of both the left field wall and the back of A’s left fielder Jack Cust, which would score Burrell, who has earlier singled, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Feliz would then score on a sacrifice fly by Chris Coste, making it 3-0 Phillies. The Phillies would score their final run in the sixth, when with two outs and a runner on first, Coste would hit a RBI single on a ball that was misplayed by A’s center fielder Carlos Gonzalez, allowing Shane Victorino, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, to score, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead. That would turn out to be more than enough runs for Kyle Kendrick to work with, as he would go eight innings, giving up only four scattered hits to the A’s, and only getting into trouble in the eighth inning, after the Phillies have earlier blown a bases loaded, no body out, situation that could’ve blown the game wide open, in their half of the inning. After giving up a single to Kurt Suzuki and then getting Gonzalez to fly out to center, Kendrick would give up a single to Daric Barton, putting runners on first and second with one out. After a conference with Charlie Manuel, Kendrick would stay in the game, and unlike Moyer on Tuesday night, Kendrick would get out of the jam by striking out Mark Ellis on a called third strike and then getting Ryan Sweeney to ground out pitcher to first. J.C. Romero would then come in the ninth to redeem himself as he would quickly dispose of the A’s to end the ballgame.

Kyle Kendrick would get the win, as he pitches a brilliant game, going eight innings for the first time in his career, giving up no runs on four hits, striking out four and walking only one A. His record is now 7-3 with a 4.59 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits. Greg Smith would get the lost as he is only able to go five and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 4-6 with an ERA of 3.69. Chad Gaudin would go one and a third shut out innings, giving up two hits. Santiago Casilla would go an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. Andrew Brown would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits.

Speaking of Kendrick’s performance, Phillies Phollowers has noted in her post yesterday that Kyle Kendrick has been seen working on his pitches with the 45-years old veteran Jamie Moyer, who yesterday had the A’s stymied for most of the game until he finally ran out of gas in the seventh. Could it be possible that the old vet has given Kendrick some pitching tips and that Kendrick actually listened to him? If that does turn out to be the case, maybe Kendrick should start listening to him more. Heck, maybe Moyer should start talking to Myers? It certainly couldn’t hurt at this point.

The Phils’ offense was finally able to score more than two runs in a game for the first time since June 18. But they still blew several scoring opportunities when they could have scored even more runs, the biggest one coming in the eighth inning. With Casilla pitching in relief, Feliz would greet him with a single, his second hit of the night. Victorino would then get on base via a fielding error by shortstop Bobby Crosby, who threw away the ball as he attempted to force out Feliz, who would end up on third, giving the Phillies runners on the corners with nobody out. Victornio, with Coste batting, would then steal second, his nineteenth of the season, to give the Phillies two runners in scoring position. Coste then hits a grounder to the pitcher Casilla. After looking over to third and seeing that Feliz wasn’t going anywhere, Casilla would turn around to get ready to throw to first, only to see that Coste was already there, loading the bases. But, the Phillies would soon run themselves out of a possible big inning, as Eric Bruntlett would hit a grounder to the shortstop Crosby. This time, Crosby would be able to throw Feliz out at home, with Suzuki touching home plate, as Feliz did not immediately move towards home upon contact, while the others would move up a base, leaving the bases still loaded. The next batter, Werth, would then strike out swinging. Utley would then step up to the plate, the bases still loaded and two outs, already having a four hits night, breaking out of his personal slump with two singles, a double and a triple. But, he is still in a slump with runners in scoring position, as, on a 2-1 count, he lines out to Crosby, leaving the bases loaded. The Phillies’ offense still seem to have a problem bringing in men in scoring position, although some aggressive base running in the first would get their first run home as Werth would score on Burrell’s short sac fly, as his running for home would force center fielder Gonzalez to make an offline throw to home plate, thus allowing Werth to score. In the third, with two outs and with Utley on second via a double, his second hit of the night, Utley would be sent home on Jimmy Rollins’ single to right. A strike to home plate by Sweeney would keep Utley from scoring what would have been the Phillies’ second run as he is tagged out by Suzuki. The Phillies are being a bit more aggressive in the field, but the batters still need to discipline themselves if they are either going to get runners home with less than two outs, or with two men out, if they are going to stay in front in the East.

The final game of this three games interleague play series will be an afternoon game at McAfee Coliseum. The game will start at 3:35 pm Eastern (12:35 pm Pacific). The Phillies (45-36) will send to the mound Adam Eaton (2-5, 4.94), who is coming off an awful start against the Angels on June 20, where he would only go five innings, getting roughed up for six runs on twelve hits in the Phillies’ 7-1 lost. Before that, he have had five straight quality starts, although going 2-2 with a no-decision, which was won by the Phillies, during that stretch. Lifetime against the A’s he is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA. He will be trying to get his third victory while trying to continue the recent strings of good starts by the Phillies’ starters. The Athletics (42-35, 2nd American League West) will counter with Rich Harden (4-0, 2.44), who is coming off a no-decision against Florida on June 20, where he would go five and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on five hits, in the A’s 7-6 win. He has won his previous start against the Giants on June 14, going six scoreless innings, while giving up only one hit, in the A’s 4-0 win. He will be trying to get his fifth win, while hoping that he can keep the Phillies from regaining their potentcy.

The win puts the Phillies’ lead back to two games as the Marlins had earlier been crushed by the Rays, and keep their leads over the Mets and the Braves at four and four and half games respectively, as both teams have won their games. The Phillies will be trying to make it two wins in a row, as the offense tries to see if they can finally start driving in men in scoring position, before they head on to Texas to meet the Rangers for a weekend series.

The Phillies are three hit by A’s pitching as they lose, 5-0.

Just hours after shutting down the A’s, the Phillies’ offense is in turn shut down by the combine pitching of A’s starter Rich Harden and reliever Alan Embree, who together would give up only three hits and a walk, while striking out eleven, as they are shutout, 5-0. The A’s would take the lead in the first inning as Adam Eaton would give up a RBI double to Ryan Sweeney, scoring Mark Ellis, who has earlier walked, making it 1-0 A’s. A batter later, Sweeney would score on a RBI single to Jack Cust, just beating Carlos Ruiz’s tag, after having slid past home plate, giving the A’s a 2-0 lead. Sweeney would be taken out of the game because of a possible injury caused by the slide. The game would then becomes a pitchers’ duel between Eaton and Harden for the next six innings, as Eaton would give up only one more run, on Carlos Gonzalez’s second home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth, which would make it 3-0 A’s, while Harden would flirt with a no-hitter until the fifth, when Shane Victorino would get a two-out single and would later get a second single off of Harden in the eighth, but the Phils would otherwise be unable to get anything started against him. The A’s would then put it away in the eighth as they score two runs off of Phils’ reliever Tom Gordon. The first run would come in on a RBI double by Jack Hannahan, knocking in Eric Chavez, who has earlier walked, to make it 4-0 A’s. The final run would come in on a RBI single by Gonzalez, who would score Hannahan, as Victornio would commit a fielding error as he tries to bare hand the ball so that he could make a throw to the plate to try and nail Hannahan. But Victorino would then redeem himself as he throws out Gonzalez as he tries to move up to second on the error, tagged out by Chase Utley. The Phillies would attempt to score in the ninth, as, with two outs, Pat Burrell would get to third base with a triple. But it would be all for naught as Ryan Howard would then ground out to first for the game’s final out.

Adam Eaton took the lost in spite of performing a quality start, going seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 4.86 ERA. Tom Gordon would pitch an inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits. Rich Harden would get the win as he shut down the Phillies for eight innings, giving up only two hits while striking out eleven. His record is now 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA. Alan Embree would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up just one hit.

The Phillies’ offense went right back to where they’d left off on Tuesday night, not doing anything right, only this time being worst as they didn’t really give themselves any time to wear down the A’s starter, as they constantly went after either his first, second or third offering. This seriously has got to stop, because it’s making the batters look stupid and it is allowing the opposing team’s pitchers to throw them whatever junk they want to, just as long at they know that the Phillies’ batters will swing at it. Come on guys, start practicing patience while standing inside the batter’s box again. SERIOUSLY!!!!

The Phillies (43-37) will now go to Arlington Texas, for a three games weekend series with the Texas Rangers (40-39, 3rd American League West). The first game of the three games set will be played in Rangers Park in Arlington, with a start time of 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.51), who is coming off a recent lost to the Angels on June 21, as he is once again hurt by the long ball as he would go seven and two-thirds innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 lost. Myers will be trying to see if he can pitch another good game while not giving up any more gopher balls, while hoping that the offense’s bats will finaly wake up in the Texas heat. His opponent will be Kason Gabbard (2-3, 4.96), who is coming off his second win of the year against the Nationals on Jnne 21, as he goes five and one third innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Rangers’ 13-3 win. He will be trying to even his record, while hoping that the Phillies’ bats will continue to stay cold.

The first place Phillies are still leading the East by two games, as the Marlins were swept by the Rays, losing 6-1. Their leads over the Mets and the Braves are now three and a half and four games respectively thanks to their lost to the A’s. As they go to Texas to face the Rangers, the Marlins will begin a three games series with the Diamondbacks in Miami, while the Mets will face the New York Yankees, at Yankee Stadium for one game and Shea Stadium for three, for a four games series, including a day/night doubleheader at both stadiums tomorrow night, and the Braves will be meeting the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Canada for a three games series. The Phillies will be hoping that they can bounce back and take out their present frustrations on the Rangers, before they take the day off on Monday, and then start a three games set with the Braves in Hot-lanta.

The offense is still sluggish as the Phillies have now lost six in a row.

The Phillies wasted a good effort by Jamie Moyer as the offense once again let the team down as they lost their sixth straight game. For the first six innings of the game, Moyer and A’s starter Joe Blanton would be involved in a pitchers’ duel, with Moyer only giving up one hit during that time, a lead-off single in the first inning to Kurt Suzuki, who would later by wiped out in a 3-6-3 double play by Ryan Sweeney, and striking out nine A’s, striking out the side twice, while Blanton would give up only two hits, one of which was Pat Burrell’s nineteenth home run of the year, a solo shot in the fourth inning, which gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Things would change in the seventh when the Phillies would get their first two men on base, Burrell via a walk and Jayson Werth via a single. But, things would then go flat as Geoff Jenkins would fly out to left, swinging on the first pitch, for the first out of the inning. Pedro Feliz would then single to right, but the third base coach, not taking a chance on getting Burrell thrown out at the plate, holds him up at third base to load the bases. This move would soon come back to haunt the Phillies as Carlos Ruiz, with a 2-1 count, would hit into a twin killing, third to first, with the third baseman touching third base first before throwing to first. The Phillies being unable to capitalize in their half of the inning would turn out to be a momentum changer, as, with Moyer still pitching, Sweeney would start off the A’s half of the seventh with a single. One out later, Bobby Crosby would get a pop single, on a ball that was misplayed by Shane Victorino and would drop in front of him, moving Sweeney to second. After Charlie Manuel decides to leave Moyer in the game, despite the fact that Chad Durbin was ready to go, Moyer would give up a three-run home run to Emil Brown, his sixth home run of the year, scoring both Sweeney and Crosby, and giving the A’s the lead, 3-1. After getting the second out and then giving up a ground rule double, which might have ended up being worst if it has not bounced into the stands, to Carlos Gonzalez, Manuel would come out and finally replace an out of gas Moyer with Durbin, who would then strike out Donnie Murphy to end the inning. In the eighth, the Phils would come back to cut the lead to 3-2, as, with Victorino on second, after getting on base with a single and then stealing second, he would score on a RBI single by Ryan Howard. Although Howard would later get to second base on a pass ball charged to Suzuki, Burrell would leave him there as he strikes out. The A’s would then deliver the coup de grace in the bottom of the inning, as with two out, J.C. Romero would walk Sweeney and then give up a two-run home run to Jack Cust, Cust’s twelfth home run of the year, to make it 5-2 A’s. That would be it as Huston Street would come in to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth to record his fourteenth save of the year.

Jamie Moyer would take the lost, although pitching a very good game until the disasterous seventh. He would go six and two-thirds inning, giving up only three runs on five hits, while striking out nine A’s. His record is now 7-5 with a 4.09 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning in relief, striking out the only man he would face. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up two earned runs on only one hit, while walking one and striking out one. Ryan Madson would go a third of an inning, striking out the only A that he would face. Joe Blanton would get the win, as he pitches seven innings, giving up only one earned run on four hits. His record is now 4-10 with an ERA of 4.58. Alan Embree would pitch an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits. Huston Street would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth as he get his fourteenth save of the season.

It is now official, the offense presently stinks, and even they are starting to realize it, as they would acknowledge in an article posted on Phillies.com about the game. Even the manager seems to be noticing that the guys are right now doing everything wrong at the plate, and those things includes, “…guys not hitting, swinging bad, swinging at balls in the dirt, chasing balls over their heads, it looks like they’ve never seen a baseball….” and those things are going to keep hurting this team until the batters finally get it into their thick skulls that they should be trying to meet the ball, and not trying to hit home runs everytime they get up to the plate, with the situations that occurred in the first and seventh innings being perfect examples of what is presently wrong with this team. Especially the seventh, when Jenkins, who should have been up there trying to move the runners over into scoring position, which might have required him taking a pitch or two until he saw something which he was sure he could hit towards the right side of the infield and get Burrell and Werth over to third and second, instead swings at the first pitch and flies out, moving no one. This would come back to hurt the Phils, as I am sure that Feliz’s single would’ve scored both Burrell and Werth from second and third, and would instead load the bases, as the Phils’ third base coach refuses to send Burrell home, afraid that he might have been cut down at home by a throw from Sweeney. Me, I’d made the attempt. Why? To shake things up a bit. There’s a difference between being aggressive and being passive. Stopping Burrell at third was being passive, and is part of the reason that the Phils are mired in their present slide. If the third base coach had been aggressive, it would have taken a real good throw to home to get Burrell thrown out. Sure, Burrell isn’t as fast as Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino, his running towards home would’ve still forced Sweeney to have to throw an almost perfect strike to get him out at home, and who know what would’ve happened if the throw was anything but a perfect strike. But, since he didn’t send Burrell home, it’s all a very moot point. Hopefully, the players’ own realization that they are stinking up the place might just get them to do something to reverse it before the situation can get any worst.

The series between the Phillies (42-36) and the Athletics (42-34, 2nd American League West) continues with a night game at McAfee Coliseum. The game will start at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will send up Kyle Kendrick (6-3, 5.06) to see if he can stop their slide before it can get any worst. He is coming off an awful start against the BoSox on June 18, where he would only pitch three innings, as he gave up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phils’ 7-4 lost. He will be trying to return to his winning ways, while, as mentioned earlier, trying to put a stop to the Phils’ swoon. The A’s will counter with Greg Smith (4-5, 3.51), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on June 19, where he would only go five innings, giving up an earned run on three hits, in the A’s 2-1 lost. He will be trying to improve his record, while at the same time seeing if he can adds to the Phillies’ present offensive woes.

The Phillies are still leading by one, four and four and a half games over the Marlins, Mets and Braves respectively, as all three teams lost their games while the Phils were unable to take advantage of it. The Phillies will be trying to end their present slump, which is a team effort, and stop wasting some good efforts that they have recently been getting from their starters.

On the north side of the Bay, the Phillies visit the A’s as they try to end their losing streak.

Presently mired in a five game losing streak, the first place Phillies (42-35) travels to Oakland to play  the Athletics (41-34, 2nd American League West) for a three games interleague play series. The first game of the series will be played tonight in McAfee Coliseum at 10:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Pacific). The Phillies will be sending Jamie Moyer (7-4, 4.09) to the mound, as he comes off a long start against the BoSox on June 17, where he would go only five innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Phillies’ 3-0 lost. Lifetime against the A’s, he is 17-15, including two shutouts, with an ERA of 4.46. He is looking to regain the team’s lead in victory while trying to see if he can help pitch the Phillies out of their present swoon. His opponent will be Joe Blanton (3-10, 4.81), who is coming off his fourth straight lost, this time at the hands of the Diamondbacks on June 18, where he would only go three innings, giving up eight earned runs on seven hits, in the Athletics’ 11-1 lost. In sixteen starts for the A’s, they are 4-12 behind him. He will be trying to end his personal losing streak while trying to see if he can keep the Phillies’ offense from being able to restart its engine.

During their last five games, the Phillies’ offense has been placed in neutral while starting pitching has allowed the opposing team to score first. In fact, in all of their last nine loses, the Phillies have trailed their opponent right from the start, and, for the most part, had been unable to catch up, or when they do catch up, their pitching will sadly give the lead back. The Phils’ sputtering offense may have to resort to playing small ball for a while, getting away from their homering always and often style, if they intend to win games again. And the offense will also have to start acting a whole lot smarter while they are each standing inside the batter’s box. No more swinging at the first pitch, whether its a fastball or not, no more swinging at pitches that are either high or low, or out of the strike zone altogether (I mean especially you Howard), try to stay patient inside the batter box, start doing some hit and run when either Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino is on base, steal more bases, find ways to move the runners into scoring position, be willing to sacrifice themselves so that the team can win ballgames. But most of all, try to relax and just be patient while in the batter’s box. They will also have to stop worrying about whether they can stack up with the American League elite; Guys, just go out there, stay within your own comfort zone, and prove to yourselves that you are able to stay up with the best by just doing it. Once you do, I’m sure things will turn around.

The Phillies have a one game lead over the Marlins who also had yesterday off. Their lead over the Mets had increased to four games as the Mets lost their game last night to the Mariners, while the Braves find themselves behind the Phillies by four and a half games after their lost to the Brew crew. As the Phillies begin the first game of their three cities nine games road trip, the Marlins will start their series with the Tampa Bay Rays in Miami for three games, the Mets will continue their three games series with the Mariners in New York and the Braves will continue their three games series with the Brewers. The Phillies will be trying to recapture their winning ways as they travel to Oakland, Texas, and Atlanta, while hoping that they can increase their divisional lead over the pesky fish.

Sarge Jr. comes to Citizens Bank Park: The Phillies face the best in the American League West.

The first place Phillies (42-32) will be facing Gary Matthews, Jr and the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim (43-30, 1st American League West) at Citizens Bank Park for a three games weekend series. The first game of the home stand will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will be sending to the mound Adam Eaton (2-4, 4.57), who is coming off his fifth straight quality start, although losing to the Cardinals on June 14, as he would pitch six and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 lost. In those five starts, he is 2-1 with a no-decision, which the Phils won, pitching a combined total of thirty-two and a third innings, giving up eleven earned runs on thirty-two hits. Eaton will be trying for his sixth straight quality start while trying to get his third win of the season to help the Phillies to once again put some distance between them and their opponents in the National League East. The Angels will counter with Ervin Santana (8-3, 3.40), who is coming off a lost to the Braves on June 14, where would only go five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, in the Angels’ 9-4 lost. He will once again be looking for his ninth win while trying to dominate the Phils’ bats.

This will be the first time that Sarge’s son will make an appearance at Citizens Bank Park, where he will be watched by his father from the broadcast booth. The Phillies’ offense will be trying to get back on the winning track, hopefully with the batters being a bit more patient at the plate and being a lot more consistant in runs production. Also, Chase Utley will be trying to break out of his present 0-20 slump which has caused his batting average to dip under .300 (.294), twenty-fourth best in the NL. Although he is still leading the league in home runs with twenty-two, he is now third in RBIs with sixty-two, fourth in runs scored with fifty-six, eleventh in hits with eighty-three and sixth in slugging percentage (.606). The Phils will need him to get back to being able to get hits and knock in runs for the offense to get going again.

The Phillies’ lead in the National League East is now at two games as the second place Marlins head to Oakland for a three games series with the Athletics. They are presently leading the now third place Mets by five and a half games as they go to Denver for a three games weekend series with the Rockies. The now fourth place Braves, thanks to their lost to the Angels yesterday afternoon, trail the Phillies by six games as they get ready to play host to the Seattle Mariners for a three game series. The Phillies, as they try to win their first series since their sweep of the Braves, hope that the rest of their division will do poorly against their opponents this weekend.

Pitching, a little small ball win game as the Phils’ bats continue to stay silent.

For the second straight game, the Phillies were involved in a shut out. Only this time, they were the ones to come out on top, but just barely, as they defeated the Nationals 1-0. Cole Hamels would pitch seven strong innings, as he gives up no runs to the Nats, on four hits, while striking out eleven batters. Hamels has now pitched nineteen straight scoreless innings, going back to the last three innings of his May 9 start against the Giants. The Phils’ offense has been kept from scoring for just as many innings, not scoring a run for seventeen and two-thirds innings, as it continues, until the top of the ninth, to leave men on base, in this case nine runners, with four of them in scoring position, in the first eight innings, as Tom Bergmann and Saul Rivera would both find ways to keep them from scoring. The Phillies would finally get a run across in the ninth inning, when, with the Nats’ closer Jon Rauch pitching, Pedro Feliz would start the inning off with a double. After Eric Bruntlett comes in to pinch run for Feliz, Carlos Ruiz would sacrifice him over to third, putting the winning run on third base with one out. Greg Dobbs would then come out to pitch hit for Tom Gordon, who has kept the Nationals from scoring in their half of the eighth, keeping the game scoreless. With the count 2-0, Dobbs would hit a blooping single to center field, scoring Bruntlett and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. After Jimmy Rollins flies out, Shane Victorino would hit a double to center field. But, Dobbs would be tagged out at home plate, thanks to a strong throw from Lastings Milledge to shortstop Cristian Guzman to catcher Jesus Flores, who would block the plate, thus keeping Dobbs from scoring. This would keep the score 1-0 Phils. Brad Lidge would pitch the bottom of the ninth in relief of Gordon. After striking out the first two batters he faced, he would walk Elijah Dukes with the count full. Dukes would then proceed to steal second and third, before Lidge would walk pitch hitter Rob Mackowiak, also on a full count, giving the Nationals runners on the corners, with the winning run on first. Then on the first pitch to Felipe Lopez, Lopez would hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Utley would bobble the ball before finally throwing out a slow moving Lopez to end the game and preserve the victory for the Phillies as Lidge records his eleventh save in as many tries.

Cole Hamels, with his seven innings of shut out ball, would get a no-decision while dropping his ERA to 2.61. Tom Gordon, pitching an inning of relief, would get the win as he gives up no runs on one hit. His record is now 4-2, with an ERA of 4.26. Brad Lidge records his eleventh save of the year as he goes one full innings, giving up no runs on no hits, striking out two while also walking two. Tom Bergmann would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up no runs while scattering five hits. Saul Rivera would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Jon Rauch would take the lost, giving up an earned run on three hits. His record is now 2-1, with a 2.78 ERA.

The Phils’ offense, expected to be the best run producer in the National League this year, is scoring less runs than expected, while the batters have suddenly stopped getting the key hit. Maybe having the offense play some small ball for a few games might be what the doctor ordered, else the starters will soon find themselves in for a lot of long games without offensive support. And, considering how some of them are pitching right now (I’m talking to you Myers and Eaton), that might end up meaning a bullpen weaken from overwork by September.

The Phillies (25-22) will conclude their trip to the nation’s capitol with a night game tonight from Nationals Park. The game will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (3-3, 4.89), who is coming off of a good outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 16, where he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phils’ 10-3 victory. He hopes to improve his record while trying to help the Phils win the series as he pitches in the 46th ballpark in his 22 years career. The Nationals (20-27) will counter with Matt Chico (0-5, 6.07), who they are using in place of Shawn Hill, who has an ailing right elbow. Chico is coming out of the bullpen, where he was demoted after losing five of his six starts earlier this season. Coming out of the bullpen, he would appear in three games, where he would pitch six and one third innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, as his ERA drops from 6.87 to 6.07. He hopes to win his first start of the year while adding to the Phils’ offensive problems, while the Phils hopes to final break out the bats and start scoring runs.

The Phils’ victory keeps them a game of a half behind the Florida Marlins, who won their game against the Diamondbacks, 3-2. The Phils are technically still tied for second place, but now they are a .001 percentage point behind the Atlanta Braves, who have swept a double header from the New York Mets, by scores of 6-1 and 6-2. The losts put the Mets in fourth place, a game behind both the Phils and the Braves. The Phils hopes to get a win tonight, to keep pace with both the Marlins and the Braves and stay ahead of the Mets in the tight National League East.

Still playing in the capital.

The Phillies (22-24) continue their three games visit to Washington, D.C. with their second game at the Nationals’ (20-26) new home, Nationals Park. The game starts tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils will be sending out their ace, Cole Hamels (5-3, 2.89), who is coming off his first complete game shut out victory against the Atlanta Braves on May 15, giving up no runs on four hits and strking out six, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. Hamels has won three of his last four starts, with the Phils’ winning the other one, as he goes twenty-nine and one third innings, giving up only ten earned runs on twenty-two hits and striking out twenty-four. His career record against the Nationals is 4-3 with a 2.49 ERA in ten starts, including his previous start against them this year, where he was involved in a pitcher’s duel with Tim Redding on April 2, going eight full innings, giving up an earned run on five hits, as he took the lost, in the Phils’ 1-0 defeat. He hopes to improve his record while ending the Phillies’ present losing streak at three games. The Nationals will counter with Jason Bergmann (1-1, 7.45), who is coming off a shut out victory of his own, as he pitched seven scoreless innings against the New York Mets, also on May 15, giving up no runs on three hits, in the Nationals’ 1-0 win. In his other three starts he got hammered pretty hard, including his April 3 start against the Phils, receiving a no-decision, as he went five and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Nationals’ 8-7 lost. He’ll be looking to improve his record, while trying to continue the Phils’ offensive woos.

The Phils’ offense has not been doing well in their last three games, leaving too many men on in scoring positions. For some reason, they are not getting the big hit when they need it. Just as badly, they don’t seems to be playing small ball, moving players into scoring position, hitting sac flies to score runners from third, being patient at the plate, taking pitches when ahead in the count, defending the plate with two strikes, waiting for the pitcher to throw their pitch, etc. Although they are suppose to be a runs producing team, they don’t seems to be doing the little things that helps to bring in runs, and it seems to have cost them their last three games. It’s obvious that Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff needs to remind them about that particular aspect of the game, and soon, if they want to get into the playoff at the end of the year. The Phils also need to start beating up on weak teams, as they are presently 8-8 in their last sixteen games playing against teams who are .500 or worst, losing two of their last three series.

The third place Phillies are a game and a half behind the National League East leading Marlins and a full game behind the Mets, while a half game ahead of the Braves. The Marlins will start a three games series with the best team in the National League, the Diamondbacks, in Miami, while the Mets will be playing the Braves in Atlanta for four games. The Phils hope to do better during their next two games with the Nationals, and during their four game set in Houston, so that they can get back to challenging for first place.

Edit: The Braves and Mets have finished the first games of a doubleheader, while the Braves have won 6-1, putting the Braves .001 percentage points ahead of the Phils and .001 percentage points behind the Mets, while all three teams are now a game and a half behind the Marlins. The second game is presently in a rain delay. Meanwhile, the Phils’ offensive troubles continues as Pat Burrell strands two runners on base, with one in scoring position.

Redding, Nationals’ bullpen shut down the Phillies as the offense go 0-12 with runners in scoring position.

Tim Redding shuts down the Phillies’ offense for the second time this season, as the Washington Nationals defeat the Phils, 4-0. Redding would go six and a third innings against the Fightin’s, scattering seven hits, as he and the Nationals’ bullpen would keep the Phils’ off the scoreboard, while the Phillies’ offense would go 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, Phils’ starter Brett Myers would give up three runs to the last place Nationals as they hurt him mostly with hard hit doubles. The Nationals’ first run would come in the first, as Dmitri Young hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Cristian Guzman, who has earlier singled. The Nationals would increase their lead in the third, making it 3-0, on a RBI double into no man’s land in right field, with the bases loaded, by Lastings Milledge, knocking in Felipe Lopez, who has doubled earlier, and Guzman, who has singled. The National’s last run would come in the seventh inning, off of Ryan Madson, pitching in relief of Myers, as Guzman scores on a double play ground out by Young.

The lost would be only the second time this year that the Phils would not score a run in a game, both times coming at the hands of Tim Redding. So far this year, Redding has blanked the Phils for thirteen and a third innings, giving up only eight hits to the Fightin’s and no runs. And this is also the first time during the season that the Phils have lost three games in a row. Even worst, the Phillies’ offense, during all three losts, has been unable to get a key hit when they’d needed it the most. In fact, starting with their series against the San Diego Padres back on April 29-May 1, the Fightin’s have not been crushing weaker teams like they should. Their record against weak teams, starting with that series, has been 8-8, with them in fact losing two of their last three. The Phillies’ offense need to turn things around, and fast, else they are not going to be in contention for the pennant comes September.

Brett Myers was the losing pitcher, as he goes six innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 2-5 with a 5.76 ERA. Ryan Madson went two innings in relief, giving up an earned run on two hits. Tim Redding was the winner for the Nationals, as he would go six and one third innings, giving up no runs on seven hits. His record is now 6-3 as his ERA drops to 3.16. Saul Rivera would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Luis Ayala and Joel Hanrahan would both pitch an inning in relief, both giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phils are now in third place in the National League East, a game and a half behind the first place Marlins, a half game behind the second place Mets, and a half game ahead of the fourth place Braves, who all had the day off. As the Phillies (24-22) met the Nationals (20-26) tonight, the Braves and Mets will start a four games series in Atlanta, while the Marlins will met the best team in the National League, the Diamonbacks, for three games in Miami, Florida. The Phillies need to get back to their winning ways, and once again get close to first place, while hoping that the Diamondbacks will beat the Marlins in their series, while the Braves and Mets will hurt each other in theirs.

The next Phillies game will be played tonight in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., starting at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils’ ace Cole Hamel (5-3, 2.89) will be their starter, hoping to end the bleeding. He is coming off his first complete game shut-out against the Braves on May 15, where he gave up no runs on four hits, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 5-0 victory. He has won three of his last four starts, giving up four runs or less in each of his starts. Lifetime against the Nationals, he is 4-3 with a 2.49 ERA in ten starts. He hopes to improve his record while giving the Phillies’ offense a chance to break loose. The Nationals will counter with Jason Bergmann (1-1, 7.45), who is coming off a win against the Mets on May 15, where he went seven innings, giving up no runs on three hits, in the Nationals’ 1-0 win. In three previous starts, he got hammered, including his first game this year against the Phils way back on April 3, where he received a no decision, as he pitched five and one third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits to the Fightin’s, in the Nationals’ 8-7 lost. He’ll be looking to improve his record while looking to increase the Phils’ present hitting woos.

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