Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Phillies Fans Could See It Coming

Marlins vs. Phillies

You could almost see it coming from a mile away. The Phillies were set to face a team who had not won a road game in the entire month of September. They were facing a young pitcher who has not been able to get anybody out in the major leagues, sporting a 11.74 ERA as a starter. The Phillies had their top starting pitcher over the past month on the hill. Their opponent is playing out the string while the Phillies are motivated to close out the division championship and better their playoff seeding.

You could almost see it coming from a mile away. Of course, the Phillies could barely scratch out any hits while the Astros strung together 15 hits to easily win 8-2. Yorman Bazardo, Manny Parra and Anibal Sanchez- so hittable throughout the league, so unhittable for the Phillies. You could see it coming, but its hard to explain.

Cole Hamels must have felt like he went back in time to a less kind month earlier this season. As Hamels experienced previously in his most frustrating season, the Astros used an array of bunts, swinging bunts, dribblers, bloopers and broken bat dunkers to complement and make the well hit balls hurt. A game that he appeared to be controlling, suddenly got away and turned into defeat.

All the while, the Braves continued to put W's on the schedule, shutting out the Marlins 4-0, which cuts what was recently an 8.5 game deficit to 4 games in the NL East. Things are starting to get uncomfortable. It is conceivable that the Braves will win out, facing an almost extinct Marlins team 2 more games and then the dreadful Nationals for the final four games of the season. The Phillies have 2 more games against the Astros, who they have yet to beat this season, and then 3 games against the Marlins, who would love to knock the Phillies off.

There were a few developments on the bullpen front. Tyler Walker pretty much ruled out a more prominent role by following up his 9th inning loss on Saturday with a bad outing that allowed the Astros to break the game wide open. JC Romero made his return in the 8th inning, yielding a couple hits, but no runs. Brad Lidge pitched the 9th inning and escaped without giving up any runs after a hit batter and single.

Tonight the Phillies face another scary challenge similar to last night. Wilton Lopez gets the start for Houston. His unknown stature is highlighted by the fact that his photo does not appear on his online profile and he comes into the game with an 8.44 ERA. Lets hope the hometown team breaks from the recent trend and finds a way to raise his ERA, while J.A. Happ gets back to campaigning for the NL Rookie-of-the-Year award.

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