Doc Helps Cure Phillies Losing Streak
After losing eight straight games since clinching the NL East, the Phillies sent Roy “Doc” Halladay to the mound today to operate on the Mets. Thanks to six scoreless innings from Doc, the Phillies had a shot at a win.
But the ailing offense would also need to find a cure for their disease. Manager Charlie Manuel decided to shuffle the line-up around to see if that band-aid might stick. Chase Utley was moved to the 2-hole, Hunter Pence to the 3-hole and Shane Victorino 5th behind Ryan Howard.
Whether it was the new line-up or just the agony of losing 8 straight, something worked. The Phillies came out swinging and scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 of which came off a Pence homer. By the end of 4 innings, the Phillies had piled on 9 runs.
Every starter in the line-up had at least one hit, including Halladay. Carlos Ruiz was absolutely on fire going 4-4 with 2 RBI and a walk. Pence made up for yesterday’s blunders by going just a double short of the cycle and driving in 3 runs. Jimmy Rollins also collected 3 hits.
The only negatives in the game came out of the bullpen. After claiming that lefty Antonio Bastardo had been tipping his pitches which was the cause of his recent struggles, Manuel put Bastardo into the 7th inning to test the theory. News flash – Tipping his pitches was not the issues.
Bastardo struggled with control and missed his spots. In just 1/3 of an inning, he gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. It was not good. As the only lefty in the bullpen, if Bastardo cannot find his control again, this will be a huge issues in the playoffs.
Vance Worley also ran into trouble in his return to the bullpen. He closed out the 7th for Bastardo just fine, but the 8th was not as easy for him. Worley gave up one run to bring the score to 9-4.
The win gives the Phillies 99 for the season with 3 games to go against the Braves. Beating the Braves could still give them the franchise record in wins, but it may also be a catch-22. If the Braves do not get the Wild Card, it will probably go to the Cardinals. The Phillies may then wind up facing the Cards in the NLDS. They won only 3 of 9 against the Cards in the regular season.
Game 1 against the Braves is Monday night at 7:05pm; Cliff Lee will pitch.
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Halladay head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography