For a change, the Phillies got a great outing from a starting pitcher; JA Happ went 7 innings and only allowed 2 runs. However, Ryan Madson, who has been nothing short of awful lately, was still sent out to pitch the 8th inning, despite his troubles. Madson gave up 3 runs and threw away any possibility of a win for the Phillies. Madson has made a habit out of blowing games in the past month and manager Charlie Manuel is doing him no favors by continuing to put him on the mound. Clearly, Madson has issues to straighten out and during tight games is not the time for him to “work” on his pitches. Manuel cannot keep putting the same guys out there and expect different results; especially when the team is on the verge of being swept and coming off a horrible road trip.
Well, they got swept alright, and it was ugly. Not only that, but as I predicted, they are now nearly out of 1st place (tied with Marlins) and quickly plummeting down the ranks of the NL East. Manuel needs to deal with the players that are not producing and dealing with them should not include putting blind faith in players when things have gotten this bad.
Jimmy Rollins did attempt to turn his season around tonight; he went 2 for 4, but it was all for nothing. The entire game, the entire road trip, has been an exercise in futility as the Phillies cannot seem to win a game. The only real entertainment tonight was watching Chase Utley impersonate a charging bull, as he slammed into the Braves catcher, Brian McCann, to score the first of only 2 runs for the team on the day. Greg Dobbs had a nice day as well, but again, it did not matter.
The Phillies struggled in the first half of last season, and they still won the World Series. However, the struggles this year are a completely different animal. Mental errors, lapses in judgment and very bad pitching have thrown 2009 into a much different level of awful. It is officially time to be worried, Phillies fans. This team has let a potentially big lead in the division wander on by and now, nothing is going right.
Raul Ibanez was supposed to play in a rehab game yesterday in Reading, but the start was pushed back to today. Then, today’s appearance was pushed back as well… Is this reason for concern or are the Phillies just playing it really safe? Ibanez has been sorely missed in the line-up and everyone is anxious to get him back. Of course, the Phillies need him back healthy. And so we wait…
One Last Time – Vote!
Only a few hours left! Please ignore how bad this team has gotten and keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars! (I need something to look forward to) VOTE up to 25 times. Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET tonight! Utley & Ibanez should be locks for a spot, but Howard, Victorino and Rollins are still teetering on the brink…so, keep on voting!
Utley Photo by Jenn