It took 26 outs before the Phils exploded for two runs in an 8-2 loss.
Fragments today instead of cohesive sentences. A game this bad deserves nothing better. It deserves primal grunting actually, but it’s difficult to translate grunting to the page.
Three whole hits off Jair Jurrjens through eight innings. Jurrjens (which sounds like primal grunting) is a good, young pitcher, but the “good pitcher” excuse grows tired. There’s good pitching in the league, so step it up. Chase Utley (pictured right with wife Jen and kittens) might have been the worst hitter in the lineup. The biggest, RISP ABs fell in his lap again yesterday and he couldn’t come through. He’s hitting .225/.294/.380 since the 20-run explosion June 13. Short, compact swings replaced by big, sluggish, looping cuts.
The Vizquel-esque season for Jimmy Rollins continues. J-Rolls went hitless. He’s not on base, not in the mix and he’s not the power-hitter of a year ago, certainly. They were counting on that. Ryan Howard homered with the game out of reach to pad his shallow pool of RBIs and HRs. The team’s long search for someone to step up when the key players don't continues. Unreal offense from the star players masked a multitude of sins over the years. Guys like Ruiz, Jenkins and Feliz are pure lineup poison, while Dobbs continues to be a big-time platoon option in theory.
The name Aaron Rowand is coming up more and more in conversation. Do they miss the leadership? Probably, but they're missing that bat even more. If this game was played a year ago, they're not silenced through eight innings because someone like Rowand, or Rollins, goes deep.
Offense remains numero uno on the list of problems, but make it three-straight games where the bullpen has blown it. If Lidge keeps it 1-0, the Phils still have a chance in the ninth. Lidge has been shaky since signing the contract extension.
Accolades: OK, here's some good news. What do Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Jason Weitzel have in common, besides the obvious good looks? We’re all Best of Philly winners in the latest issue of Philadelphia Magazine. Utley and wife Jen won best champions for a cause, Burrell won Best Phillie and Weitzel won … best sports blog? No. Best blog? Guess again. In the upset of the season, best sportswriter in the city of Philadelphia.
“(A) great mix of analysis, detailed info that obsessive Phillies fans die for (including coverage of the minor league system and fairly intelligent comments from die-hard fans).”
Fairly intelligent? Must have been written during a Mets series. My sincerest thanks to the good folks at Philadelphia Magazine. Look for the latest edition, pictured above, on newsstands now.
Game chat: Mike Hampton makes his first start since 2005 against Cole Hamels and the second-place Phillies today at 3:55 ET. The Phils enter today two games back of the Mets and tied with Florida in the National League East. Discuss it here.