Welcome to the Phillies live blog. Things are shaping up pretty nicely. When I saw the pitching matchup for tonight’s game (Hamels vs. Outman), I wondered if I had chosen too soft a spot for the live blog. Then I remembered it isn’t 2011. Cole Hamels has been pedestrian in his last four starts and as bad as Colorado is playing, the Phillies are playing worse. To make things even worse, injured folk hero, Freddy Galvis, has been suspended for 50 games in accordance with the MLB’s banned substance policy. Galvis claims he’s innocent and his OPS would be a great argument he’s clean, but he’s gone for a long while. On to the game…
*The Phils are up 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, so this game is playing out like countless Phillies losses this year. In fact, the Rockies just ran themselves out of a possible threat in the top of this inning that would have made things VERY interesting. It cannot be overstated how awful the Phillies’ starters have been with a lead this season.
*Ty Wiggington and Michael Martinez both ground out as part of the Phillies’ sixth. I can’t wait to get both these guys out of the lineup. It’s amazing how much this team misses the little guys too. Guys like Laynce Nix and even, wait for it…David Herndon. Qualls has made Herndon look like Rollie Fingers. That reference was brought to you by Tim McCarver.
*Hamels is at 92 pitches through six innings, which already has me a bit worried about the eighth. The bridge to Papelbon has been terrible, but it’s also been much longer this year. The starters are not working as deep into games, and haven’t been nearly as economical with their pitches. Hamels, Lee and Halladay have 0 complete games this year.
*Hamels looks pretty sharp to start the seventh, which is a relief. I’m not sure the Phils know what they’re going to do with Cole. For a long time I thought there was just no way they could spend that much money, but considering how this season has gone, there could be wholesale changes in store for this team. If it’s true that he really wants to stay in Philadelphia, perhaps he sticks around as one of the few pieces the Phils will keep to build on if they blow this thing up.
*In contrast to Hamels, there’s no other potential free agent that jumps out as someone the Phillies need to keep. In fact, they’d probably be better off parting ways with most of these players. Victorino, Polanco, and possibly even Pence could be elsewhere next season. All three of those players are complimentary pieces and all three aren’t going to help the Phillies get any younger.
*Hamels leads off the bottom of the seventh with a single. So, it’ll be his game in the 8th, despite being at 103 pitches. It’s another great indication of the state of the bullpen. In years past this game would have been Madson to Lidge, or Bastardo to Madson and you’d already have it in the win column. The Phillies no longer have that luxury.
*Tom McCarthy says Rollins, “really looks into the game tonight.” He’s 2-2 with 2 walks. Thanks for trying tonight, Jimmy! Rollins has actually had a hot June, which has corresponded with the Phils’ swoon.
*Placido Polanco is squaring to bunt with 1st and 2nd and no one out. Again, the Phillies have a 2-run lead. My head has just exploded. The announcers have just said that Charlie has talked about busting games open late. Do you bust games open by playing for one run? Polanco already has an RBI double tonight, how about playing for a very big inning? Polanco gets the bunt down, but now Pence must get Hamels in from 3rd.
*Pence luckily gets Hamels in with a 4-hopper to short. Hamels is the only pitcher and perhaps one of only four (?) Phillies that score on that play. It bails Charlie out a bit. It’s 75% on the hitters in that situation, but Manuel has been pretty rough in tight games and has bunted WAY TOO MUCH this year.
*Well, Ruiz homers to make it 7-2, nullifying the point, but also you get the idea of exactly how big an inning the Phillies could actually have if they let everyone hit. Great to Ruiz has hit four screamers tonight and could be coming out of his mild slump. He’s had an absolutely incredible season.
*My main concern right now is that this game by 10 so I can watch Storage Wars in its entirety. Storage Wars is no Duck Dynasty, but at 10 pm on a Tuesday, it’ll do. I have not yet checked in on the NBA Finals, because if you remember I no longer hate LeBron.
*Hamels still starts the 8th, despite a 5-run lead and being over 100 pitches. Makes NO sense to me. Scutaro starts the inning with a double off the left-center field wall. Charlie thinks maybe he should finally get someone up. Great idea. I don’t think there’s any way that Hamels goes the distance, so this is just further proof the Phillies have no confidence in anyone in the bullpen.
*Rollins makes a really nice play to end the eighth. I assume it’ll be Paps for the ninth, despite it not being a save situation. Papelbon hasn’t exactly been overworked of late. Kudos to the modern bullpen structure for the Phillies having terrible set-up men and an underworked closer. Worth every penny.
*John Mayberry Jr. doubles in the 8th, adding a 2nd extra base hit to his homer from earlier in the game. He’s homered in 4 of his last 5 games, and like Rollins has been having a very good June. Could Mayberry possibly see his way out of his terrible funk? At least the kid keeps working at it, but I’m not sure you can trust him not to go cold.
*Chad Qualls coming in to pitch the 9th. I shudder.
*Chad’s ERA is 4.39. I would have guessed 11. Qualls gets the first batter to pop to 2nd. Two outs to go, four runs to play with for Quallsy. Qualls strikes out the 2nd hitter, the ball gets away, but Chooch makes an incredible throw from the backstop get the man at 1st. Nothing is going horribly wrong yet. I’m confused. Rosario flies to center, Phils win easily, Hamels gets his 10th. Is there a problem with this team?
*To wrap it up, the Phillies beat a very bad team tonight, the only thing surprising was that they looked like a halfway decent team. For a night. There’s 9 games left on this homestand. Two more against the Rockies, three against Tampa Bay, and then the Pirates for 4. The Phillies have to win all of these series, or figure out another way to go 7-3 on this homestand. We’ll see what this rag-tag bunch has left.