The Phillies, who've scratched out seven runs during their four-game losing streak, send left-hander Cole Hamels to the hill in hopes of salvaging a game against Jered Weaver and the Angels.
For new readers checking in from the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Phoenix and ESPN Insider, with hopes of reading this serious, honest and well-versed sports analysis everyone seems to be talking about, you picked a fine time. This team stinks.
Following their 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Angels, their fourth in a row and eighth in their last 11, that’s how it feels, even though the standings prove otherwise. The Phils (42-34) still cling to a one-game lead over the Marlins in the National League East, which will disappear entirely if they continue to showcase this latest brand of baseball. Last night featured more light hitting and sloppy all-around play, compromising a rather nice start by struggling right-hander Brett Myers.
Pundits said this week would be revealing, and indeed it has. Inside the bubble, the Phils looked good; they could overrun the Rockies, the Nationals, the Reds, the Braves. Since then, the schedule lined up a crescendo building up to the class acts in baseball, and they’ve fallen flat. Readers view the situation with guarded optimism.
"The trend will end, and I think there's an excellent chance that it'll end today with a favorable pitching matchup (forget the Hamels-day game jinx; he pitched a shutout last time he made an afternoon start),” writes RSB. “This four-game losing streak has been the polar opposite of the stretch when they were playing Colorado and everything was dropping in and going their way. They've played poorly, but they also haven't been able to buy a break - everything's been going against them. It won't last. It never does, either way. I anticipate the Phillies being able to steady themselves soon enough, and get back to being the decent, moderate team they were over the first two months. That should be enough to get them in the playoffs, if only because the divisional competition is so stilted this season. Odds are they won't get far if they do reach the post-season, but you never know. No one thought this was going to be some dominant, gangbusters kind of team, and it's not. It's a good team in a weak division that'll probably finish first."