The heart of the lineup – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell – went hitless with eight strikeouts, as rising young left-hander Jon Lester earned the win in Boston’s 3-0 shutout of the Phils.
Over the last two nights, the in-game discussion revolved around hitting, but on the field, it's been all about pitching: Cole Hamels and the poor outings by Bartolo Colon and Mike Timlin on Monday; and Lester's terrific start last night. For the fourth time this season, the Phils never touched home, but it was only the second time where the opposing starter had dominant stuff. In other words, Lester isn’t the two-pitch enigma known as Tim Redding. He’s closer to Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez, making hitters look foolish with a darting fastball, including a nasty cutter inside to right-handed hitters. Odds are that Lester, followed by Hideki Okajima and closer Jonathan Papelbon, who combined for the shutout last night, is how more than one boxscore will read this October.
Jamie Moyer didn’t get the black from home plate umpire Brian Knight, making it a short night for the 45-year-old mage. Still, Moyer limited the damage to just two runs, keeping his club in the game. Unfortunately, they could not pull through. Utley went hitless for the fourth game in a row, dropping his batting average below .300 (.299) for the first time this season. Afterward, Charlie Manuel said he considered giving Utley the night off, but the second baseman talked him out of it.
During the game, readers vented their frustrations over the offensive inconsistency, singling out Carlos Ruiz. Others argued that they simply lost to the better club.
“How can anyone watch this team night in and night out and maintain the position that they're not woefully inconsistent? 20 runs 1 night, 2 hits the next. 8 runs one night, 0 runs the next. With the Phillies' ineptitude against good pitchers, I suspect we should all get ourselves prepared for another 3-game playoff sweep in October.” – bay_area_phan
“I don't know if it's inconsistency so much as the other point you're making - susceptibility to good pitching. The Phillies, good as they've been with the bats, don't really have a lot of patient, intelligent hitters. Utley and Burrell are the only ones who have a quality approach to their at-bats every time. And Utley isn't hitting right now. The rest of these guys are pretty much meat for anyone who knows what they're doing out there. And you're right - it's probably that factor, every bit as much as their starting pitching shortcomings, which will do them in in the post-season.” -- RSB
“Reading the thread tonight makes me think there's some confusion among Beerleaguers. So I'll say it: The Red Sox are a very good baseball team. Even without Big Papi. Tomorrow's matchup favors the Phils.” -- clout