One down, one loss directly attributable to the Phillies’ bullpen. With the scored knotted in the ninth, Tom Gordon was torched with a series of hard-hit doubles, allowing five runs in an 11-6 loss to the Nationals.
In a game that unfolded in a painstakingly similar way as last opening day, the game saw a mini-meltdown by starter Brett Myers in the fifth, followed by a two-out, two-run homer given up by Ryan Madson in the sixth. Down 6-2, the Phils battled back thanks to a solo shot by Chase Utley, a shutout top half of the seventh by Chad Durbin, followed by a three-run rally in the bottom of the inning, capped by a Jimmy Rollins two-run blast. After J.C. Romero blazed through eighth, it was Gordon’s turn to prove skeptics right. As if hanging from a string over the fattest part of the plate, the Nationals pummeled his fastball, allowing four hits and a walk, including three doubles. Clay Condrey came in to clean up the mess and could not, but at that point, it was over.
Beerleaguer: In a game that featured everything hardened skeptics could ask for (the mental side of Myers, the “why can’t you just get it done already” side of Madson, offensive black hole redux Pedro Feliz and the crispy toasted arm of Gordon), the Phillies did nothing to sooth lingering doubts about their pitching. Confidence in the bullpen appears to be at a premium. Very ugly game. It didn’t take long for one to get that sour feeling of walking a tight rope. About the time Romero came in you realize they’re up against a wall: they either luck out with Gordon in the ninth or fall to their death. Splish.
I said it once and I’ll say it again: Don’t get too comfortable with Myers in the rotation if the bullpen breaks in the wrong direction. It’s all riding on injured, former Astro closer Brad Lidge. No manager is going to put up with what happened today, especially with an effective closer already on the roster.