Postgame analyst Ricky Bottalico called it one of the most disgusting games he's seen, and with good reason. The Phillies fell over themselves in a sloppy 10-4 finale in a game where their pitching was busted open once again.
If you had been locked away in solitary confinement, unaware of the date and out of touch with the Phillies, you could immediately recogize the Phils were in the midst of another June swoon after only a few short moments of last night's game. Then you'd ask to be locked back in solitary to escape the trinity of torture, as the pitching, hitting and defense all deteriorated in burning unison.
There's a glitch in the hardwiring of this club that causes them to shortcircuit during interleague play. Perhaps it reminds them of the Grapefruit League and they go through the motions as if it were exhibition. Last night certainly resembled a spring training game. There's also something in the character of this group that makes them unable to maintain a mid-season lead. We know they thrive on adversity, playing their best when the chips are absolutely stacked against them, as evidenced by their play during the stretch run and all the comeback victories. When it comes to the Phillies, there's no other way than the hard way.
Charlie Manuel will wait out his defense and hitting, strengths that have been sucked into this slump. But there's nothing he can do about the pitching. He sent three pitchers to the mound in Antonio Bastardo, Tyler Walker and Jack Taschner yesterday who don't belong in the Major Leagues. There have been no signs of that improved slider and plus change-up we read about from Bastardo, who left in the fourth inning with a shoulder strain. Bastardo and Ruiz were out of sync all night, and Bottalico suggested the young lefty tried to do it his way. Then there's Taschner. After a good, long look, he basically offers one, very straight pitch.
Taschner was Ruben Amaro's choice. After losing 10 of their last 12, and with marginal talent throughout the roster, it seems like a good time to offer a midterm grade for the first-year GM.