As predicted, last night's game featured plenty of offense, including five Phillies home runs, but it wasn't enough as the Tigers rolled 12-8. A poor frame from Jon Lieber, mistakes in the field and shaky relief also led to their undoing.
Give credit to the Tigers; they can mash with the best of them. I watched half the game including the fifth inning where Lieber gave it up. Manager Charlie Manuel had Ryan Madson warming, but sat him when the score became 7-2, going with Francisco Rosario, followed by Jose Mesa, representing the two weakest pitchers on the team.
Most managers would have done the same, handing it over to the B-list pitchers at that point. However, 7-2 in the fifth, at home with hitter conditions is a spot where Madson should be used. Those are the situations he often cruises. The time has come to realize that's where Mad Dog helps them most, not in the eighth inning.
It's a shame because the Phils ended up producing enough offense to win the ballgame. The offense is playoff-ready and belted Tigers' pitching with five deep bombs, including two from Jimmy Rollins. Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and Greg Dobbs also homered. The only games they're losing lately are the games where the starting pitcher implodes. That's been roughly one in four or five starts. Adam Eaton, Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer now Lieber have all thrown duds over the last two weeks.
As for the bullpen, the front office is probably tentative to jettison Rosario since they scouted him for weeks during spring training. What a prize he's turned out to be. No control whatsoever. Phillies love pitchers who throw hard but have no idea where the ball is going, and deny opportunities for strike throwers like Justin Germano, now helping the pitching-rich Padres. If it were up to me, I'd replace Rosario with whatever AAA mercenary is throwing strikes, either John Ennis or Kane Davis when healthy. Bubba Nelson, who's been used as a starter and reliever, pitched a one-run game last night, going eight innings without giving up a walk. He's definitely an option. Besides Rosario, I don't like what I've seen from Mesa, either. He's completely washed up and they'll probably let him overstay his welcome.
Phillies considering four-man rotation: According to the Inquirer, Manuel said the Phils have not decided whether to keep rookie Kyle Kendrick in the rotation or go with a four-man rotation until the all-star break. Kendrick is scheduled to start Tuesday. Todd Zolecki figures they could get away with skipping Kendrick once, but will run into issues during a 10-game stretch between June 26 and July 4, which includes a double-header with the Mets.
C.J. Henry stinks: Lakewood’s Carl (C.J.) Henry, one of the prospects who came over in the Bobby Abreu deal, is 0-for-13 in his last three games with 12 strikeouts, and in his last five, he’s 0-for-21 with 15 strikeouts. He’s hitting .176 on the season with 78 strikeouts in 187 at bats. Hard to believe he was a first round pick of the Yankees two seasons ago.
Tonight's game: Detroit LHP Andrew Miller (2-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. LHP Jamie Moyer (5-5, 4.55 ERA). Moyer is looking to rebound from his worst start of the season. He hasn't faced the Tigers since 2005.[Live Boxscore]