The Puzzling Predicament of the Phillies 8th Inning
Why no one on the Phillies staff can seem to pitch well in the 8th inning is an on-going and unsolved mystery. And in last night’s appalling 9-2 loss to the Marlins, this baffling problem was magnified once again.
No one pitched particularly well yesterday, not even Roy Halladay. He was not bad, obviously, but while 3 runs in 7 innings is great for most guys, it is slightly sub-par for a guy of Halladay’s pedigree. Still, the offense gave him no support except for 2 RBI from Ty Wigginton, one of which was a solo homer.
But as soon as the Phillies approached that irritating 8th inning, all heck broke loose. B.J. Rosenburg walked the first batter and then allowed 2 straight singles. He has been terrible and his 12.79 ERA is screaming, “Send me back to the minors!” Raul Valdes got an out and then intentionally walked a guy as he was told to before being pulled. That walk eventually counted against his, which really is not right. He did his job.
And then the real fun began when Michael Schwimer took over and balls started flying all over the ballpark. By the time it was finally over, the Marlins had scored 6 runs in one inning.
So what is the deal with the 8th inning and this team? Look at the chart to the right; the Phillies have a 5.38 ERA in the dreaded 8th inning. By far, this is where the poorest pitching occurs. The only thing worse is when they go into extra innings.
This is a clear indication that the Phillies bullpen needs a complete overhaul, but we already knew that. The frustrating part is that it does not seem to matter who they put in there in the 8th. It is some weird curse now; pitch in the 8th, get knocked around, end of story.
And while this issue is on-going, something even worse happened in this game. Jimmy Rollins was clearly not interested in playing last night, and I am apparently not the only one who noticed. His lack of hustle was blatant and obvious in several situations. A fan who called him out on Twitter asking him to run out the play because, “youngsters are watching you.” Rollins responded with, “well u make sure u tell them what to do.” Oh my.
Clearly, this Phillies season has been fun for no one. But as fans, we still expect a level of professionalism and effort regardless of the standings. No one wants to pay to see a bunch of guys making millions of dollars taking their good fortune for granted. And this is not the 1st time we have seen this attitude from Rollins, which only magnifies the situation.
This is indeed a sad state of affairs all around. It is really unfortunate as well that these problems have now overshadowed the fact that the Phillies have won 2 series in a row, despite yesterday’s ugly loss.
The Brewers are up next: Game time tonight is 8:10pm.