Not only are the Philadelphia Phillies losing too many close games, but the team is also winning game by the slimmest of margins more often than many would like.
The latest chapter in the Phillies’ struggles to pull away from other teams came in the form of a 10-9 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday afternoon, a win that somewhat salvaged the series and prevented Philadelphia from being swept on the first stop of their 10-game west coast road trip.
The Phillies twice held a two-run lead over the Rockies, but squandered it each time. Jonathan Papelbon was finally able to close the game out in the ninth inning without allowing the Rockies to score, but the pitching staff’s struggles certainly dampened his late-inning success.
The Phillies are winners of eight of their first 18 games so far in 2014. Of those eight wins, half have been by a margin of only a single run. To be even more clear, those four wins also happen to be the team’s last four wins. Philadelphia hasn’t won a game by more than one run since April 11 against the Miami Marlins. Of the 10 losses, three have been decided by a one run.
The Phillies got solid contributions from Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley en route to scoring 10 runs, but even the onslaught of production wasn’t enough to defeat the Rockies early. Philadelphia’s pitching staff got knocked around just like Colorado’s. Rarely have the Phillies been able to put together a complete game this year.
If the team expects to contend for anything in 2014, they need to knock off the habit of playing so many close games. Philadelphia needs to start putting teams away when it has a lead, or else the Phillies could wind up on the losing side of things far too often.