Role Reversal; Blanton Is Hot, The Offense Is Not
Like they did in their last two games, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead Monday night with a run in the first inning against the Brewers. But also like the previous two games, after scoring in the first, the Phillies offense went to sleep. So the question is, who put the Ambien in the Gatorade?
The offense was off to a very good start early in the season. But suddenly, the bats have vanished. Pitcher Joe Blanton had the opposite start to the season; he was awful in his first two starts.
Now, the roles are reversed. Blanton finally looked sharp tonight, throwing 7 solid innings where he allowed just two runs on seven hits and a walk. The Phillies could not have asked for more from him.
But Blanton should have put in a request for some offense. Because the red-hot bats have gone stone cold. The one run they did score came off a Brewers error which allowed Jimmy Rollins to reach base on what should have been an inning-ending double play ball. Ryan Howard knocked Rollins in with a single and then, it was nap time.
Both Howard and Placido Polanco had two hits each, but no one else really looked conscious. In the seventh, they squeaked out one more unearned run after another Brewers error. That tied the game at 2-2. A freak double play ended the inning as Polanco hit a low line drive that no human being should have been able to catch. The ball ricocheted off the pitcher’s back, flew up into the air and somehow, Yuniesky Betancourt snagged it, doubling Michael Martinez off second.
But then Ryan Madson finally had a bad game and gave up the first run of his season. The Brewers jumped ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning. Could this sleepy Phillies offense bail him out?
The short answer is no. Although Pete Orr smacked a game-tying RBI-double in the ninth, pitcher Kyle Kendrick killed any chance at a win. The game went extra innings and in the 12th, Kendrick had a Murphy’s Law inning. Anything that could go wrong did.
Kendrick walked the first batter on four pitches and then proceeded to screw up in every conceivable way. He made an errant throw, a wild pitch, hit a batter and walked two more intentionally. The only thing he did not do was break down and cry like a little girl, although he probably wanted to.
Three runs later, the Brewers sealed the win at 6-3 as the offense still refused to wake up. It was a sad loss.
On Sunday afternoon, Chase Utley was running the bases during batting practice. Today, he was doing sprinting drills. The fact that he followed a day of running with a day of sprints means he suffered no ill effects from the running. That is very good news.
Utley has been able to take batting practice and do some infield drills as well throughout the rehab process. If he can run full speed without pain, he may be on the field soon that expected.
As for Domonic Brown, his broken hand is healing well and he went 2-for-3 in an extended spring game today.
Roy Oswalt says he feels fine after some back spasms on Friday which caused him to leave the game against the Marlins early. While no official decision has been made, it appears he will make his next start on Thursday.
J.C. Romero left the game in the ninth after getting the first two outs. As he lunged for a ground ball, he began hopping and limping. He has a strained right calf and will likely go on the DL. And MRI is scheduled for Tuesday.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography