The Phillies scored just six runs in three games against a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 20 years, dropping two of the three games by scores of 2-1 and 5-4. The one win was just a 1-0 score, courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz. It’s the first time the Phillies have been below .500 in a season since April of 2009.
The Phillies’ six total runs put them second-last in all of baseball among teams that have played three games, and the team is hitting just .204 with no home runs in 28 innings of play. Everyone knew the team would miss Chase Utley and Ryan Howard an awful lot, but poor performances from some of the starters won’t cut it: Jimmy Rollins is hitting just .167 (2-for-12) and Freddy Galvis is 0-for-10 in his MLB career. The team’s .209 batting average with runners in scoring position is disappointing, and the Phillies have just two extra base hits – both doubles – in three games.
The pitching has been phenomenal, which is no surprise, and it will need to continue like that all season for the Phillies to contend. Roy Halladay threw an eight-inning gem, Cliff Lee threw six strong innings, and Vance Worley continued his fantastic 2011 campaign by throwing six innings against just one earned run allowed. The bullpen was shaky, but using Joe Blanton and David Herndon in clutch situations in the ninth inning isn’t the way to go, and Charlie Manuel should have managed the ballgames smarter than that.
Fortunately, the Atlanta Braves were handed a three-game sweep by the New York Mets, and it’s still early enough that the Phillies can easily correct their problems and get back on track. It just begins with some timely hitting and a little power at the plate.