Swept Again

Comcast Sportsnet had a great poll up but they missed one option. The question: what is the cause of the Phillies’ struggles? A. bull pen inconsistency; B. Cole Hamels’ struggles; C. Raul Ibanez’s absence; D. Jimmy Rollins’ struggles. I would love to add: E. All of the above.

The Phillies are 4-14 in their last 18 games. In those last 18, the bull pen has blown countless saves and pitched absolutely terrible. In games when the Phillies would be trailing only a run or two, the bull pen would surrender multiple runs to put the game out of reach. A part of this is due to the starters not going at least seven innings and that is completely draining the bull pen.

Ryan Madson has been the most dreadful of relievers. Since June 16, he’s given up nine runs in seven appearances (6 2/3 innings). He has blown three saves. Madson isn’t the only pitcher struggling as Hamels, who hasn’t won a game since June 4, has been terrible. In his last five starts, he’s 0-3, averaging less than six innings a start. He’s given up 19 runs on 44 hits and 8 walks in 27 2/3 IP. Those are not numbers you want from your ace.

After being benched for four games, Rollins came back to go hitless in the first two games of the Braves series until Thursday night when he had two hits, snapping an 0-28 drought.

Tuesday: In a seesaw battle, the Phillies blew a 4-3 lead in the eighth and gave up a walk off hit in the 10th. Martin Prado capped his 4-5, four RBI game with the winning hit as the Braves won 5-4.

Wednesday: Jair Jurrjens took a no hitter into the seventh as the Braves dominated the Phillies 11-1.

Thursday: After tying the game up at two in the sixth, the Braves scored three in the eighth off Madson to win 5-2. JA Happ went seven strong, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.

Series MVP’s:
ATL: Martin Prado: 7-12, 4 runs, 2 doubles, HR, 6 RBI
ATL: Matt Diaz: 7-11, 4 runs, double, HR, 3 RBI, SB

Next Series: New York Mets (39-39; 17-22 on road) @ Philadelphia Phillies (39-37; 13-22 at home)

We all know how big the Mets series is. It’s the start of their final 10 game home stand going into the All Star Break. The Mets lead the series 4-3 but the Phillies have won the previous two. The Phillies can win the series still but at this rate, I am afraid of a sweep or series loss. Luckily Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez have hit some rough patches. I have nothing more to say.

Pitching Probables:
7/3: Hernandez, L (5-3, 4.04), Lopez, Ro (0-0, -.–)
7/4: Nieve (3-1, 2.25), Moyer (6-6, 6.05)
7/5: Santana, J (9-6, 3.34), Blanton (4-4, 5.08)

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