Phillies Drop Opener to Mets
Phillies biggest problem Tuesday? Ranking them after Monday.
Because how are you supposed to start ordering a short list of woes with elastic that won’t stop stretching?
Before Phillies (14-16, 5-6 at home) 5-2 loss to the Mets (16-13, 6-7 away), Philly’s foremost worry was Roy Halladay’s velocity. After, it’s the top-to-bottom fiber of the team’s total being.
Before David Wright’s two-RBI double in the sixth to tie it? It was Cole Hamels’ mouthiness. After, it’s Charlie Manuel’s mastery of the lineup card.
Before Hunter Pence left a full flight of bases filled (he groudned into a double play to end the bottom of the seventh), Ty Wigginton lumbered to a home plate he had no business trying to catch (he was thrown out on a Freddy Galvis fielder’s choice in the eighth), and Jimmy Rollins opened the final frame with a bunt (the knuckleheadedness of which, besides to his boss and the fans, needn’t explanation), you figured you had things sorted out. And what a mess Monday made.
Halladay, who went seven strong for as many strikeouts while allowing only five hits and two earned runs, did exactly what you expected him to, not only as the team’s beacon of fortitude, but as the end-all of gamers making his first start since he was toasted like an English muffin last Wednesday against the Braves. Which would be totally ironic, except for the guy who ended his streak of consecutive winning starts against the Mets (at eight), Jordany Valdespin, who made the first hit of his career, and Jonathan Papelbon’s (L, 0-1) first allowed in about a month, a three-run go-ahead homer in the ninth, hails from the Dominican Republic.
And if you thought that zany, how about this? The Phillies lost their 10th game to New York of their last 22 (since the start of the 2011 season), just days after celebrating stopping the bleeding from what’s all of a sudden a budding rivalry with the Nationals at seven games-to-none.
Hope .500 was fun while it lasted.
Now, you almost have to wonder whether Hamels’ five-game ban, the recoil for popping off at the mouth about plunking Bryce Harper in the back, really won’t be that consequential. Because you’ve gotta believe the losers of four of their last six could use just about every bump they can get.
Especially when Manuel makes moves like he did Monday. Back-to-back sac bunts after Wigginton led off the eighth with a single definitely highbrowed, but ultimately deferred to logic, once you realized that meatballs like he and Carlos Ruiz would sooner roll off the table than round third without some help. And, yeah, Mets reliever Bobby Parnell faceplanting as Ruiz laid it down helped out on that front.
But double (triple?) switching Antonio Bastardo (who, for record, held up pretty well, allowing only two walks, one intentional to Wright, the NL’s foremost freebie getter (with six in 2012)) for Laynce Nix, who then tapped out for Triple-A call-up Erik Kratz? Bad look, which turned out a worse burn when Kratz struck out swinging.
It’s far from time to break the glass on the Phillies season. But with blunders from the top-down and all around, it makes sorting through the noise harder than you figured — even for a team without its two top leaders, and in a division that closed the chasm in a matter of months.
How’s the team supposed to win if it can’t score? With a 3-13 record in games in which it’s posted three or fewer runs, you notice a pretty popping trend: Not only doesn’t the team make out well when its bats are quiet, but that’s kind of commonplace.
How’s the team supposed to score if it can’t be clutch? With a 1-for-9 slate with runners in scoring position, and a ton of red up and down the lineup card (Wigginton 0-1, Rollins 0-1, Victorino 1-1, Kratz, 0-1, Pence 0-1, Galvis 0-2, Mayberry Jr. 0-1, Halladay 0-1) you start to realize, this whole “Starting Subs” thing is really torpedoing the team.
Maybe the team doesn’t need answers now. But what’s for sure? It definitely can’t take any more questions.