The Angels used 25 base-runners to score seven runs off Adam Eaton and the Phillies' bullpen, while LA starter Ervin Santana smoked through seven innings, striking out nine, as the Phils fell 7-1 last night.
Before I get to the part where I freak out, here are three levelheaded reasons why the Phils are in a funk. First, they’re falling behind early, which doesn’t fly against better teams like Anaheim. Second, they’re facing better pitching, like Ervin Santana and his 97 mph cheddar. Third, their pitching, and defense, has let off the gas against dangerous hitters.
A week after Tony LaRussa tossed his sunglasses in protest, the Phils are mired in a full-fledged, team-wide slump. One could argue that Utley, stuck in the worst drought of all, was the best player on the field last night, simply because he hit the ball hard a couple times and knocked in a run. That’s all that we – the fans – can hang our hats on, a week after the Phils lodged 20 runs up the Cardinals' butts.
Santana's fastball disappeared into Jeff Mathis’ mitt in unreachable spots. His slider fell off the table. Still, some of that stuff sailed over the plate. He wasn't untouchable; not for a team of alleged fastball hitters.
When is this supporting cast going to start taking the heat off the meat of the lineup? I’m talking Geoff Jenkins. I’m talking Pedro Feliz. Their services didn’t come cheaply. The least Feliz can do is field his position cleanly, because he sure isn't using those soft hands for hitting. Where are the guys like Bill Conlin, who thought Feliz was the "perfect fit" capable of 25-30 home runs in this ballpark? Never in a million years should anyone have bought that ridiculousness.
Then there’s Adam Eaton, who couldn’t use the quality start card last night: six runs, 12 hits, and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse. Los Angeles had ducks on the pond all night long.
Patience is wearing thin, and tonight, Brett Myers takes the mound representing the top problem on the team’s growing list. Around baseball, managers are getting fired all over the place, changes are being made everywhere, and here are the Phils rolling with the same basic group when certain guys aren't cutting it. The time for tolerance is over. The time for consequence is now.