The return of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard has not made a difference, and time to recharge during the All-Star break was not evident, in the Phillies' 6-2 loss to the Rockies Friday night.
Beerleaguer: It's not just the sloppy play, the lack of clutch hits or a bullpen that never keeps it close. It's not limited to a lack of talent, either. It's that they're losing so often that they've taken on many of the physical and emotional trappings of a last-place team. Look at the way they carried themselves when they huddled up around Michael Schwimer when the game was slipping away. Notice the look of defeat on Utley's face. On Howard's face. It never used to be that way. The game was never out of reach. The Phils believed they could will themselves to victory each game; winning teams find ways to win.
Now, the Phils find ways to lose: sloppy defense, inept hitting with runners in scoring position and a bullpen that hemorrhages runs. Even Cliff Lee can't work out of jams the way he used to; Chris Wheeler, in the postgame, pointed out his continued struggles in the stretch.
The Phils have now lost 11 of 12, which coincides with Utley's return. They have yet to win a game with Howard. In other words, there's no magic pill for this team-wide virus.
Game 2 begins tonight at 8:10. Discuss it here.