Nearly every night it’s the same old story: starting pitching puts the Phillies in a hole and they rarely climb out of it.
Before a single at-bat, the Phillies look up at the scoreboard and see themselves trailing, sometimes by 3 or 4 or 5 runs.
Worse, if they begin to claw their way back and score in the bottom of a frame, the starters nearly always go out and give a run or two right back.
It’s maddening, frustrating and, in the end, nearly always fatal.
The pundits had it right all along. The 2006 Phillies are a mediocre team where it counts the most: pitching.
Last night’s starter, Gavin Floyd, is pitching on borrowed time. The scouting reports on Floyd talk of his fastball, curve and change-up. Well, his fastball doesn’t appear to have any movement on it; his command of his curve is elusive at best; and he rarely throws the change because, as Harry Kalas pointed out last night, he is too often behind in the count.
Floyd looks and acts like the shell-shocked pitcher he is. Whatever confidence he rediscovered during Spring Training is long gone now. His is the classic deer-in-the-headlights stare. His manager insists he will be given another chance or two, but what else is Manuel going to do? Who, exactly, is waiting in the wings?
Lest I forget, Ryan Madson’s last outing was an even greater disaster than Floyd’s, and John Lieber is 0 – 4.
Come to think of it, even the pundits thought the Phils’ starting pitching would be better than this!!
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Beerleaguer recently pointed to defense as another culprit in the Phillies’ poor start. Every night someone blows an easy play. Last night, Jimmy Rollins threw away a ball and it cost the team an unearned run that proved to be the final margin of defeat. Too many mistakes by too many fielders reveal a team whose concentration is poor after less than a month on the job. How will they play in the heat and humidity?
Sal Pasano started at catcher last night. He may have delivered two hits (and no pizzas to his cheering section), but he is no defensive whiz, especially when throwing to second base. Why is Pasano catching Floyd instead of Mike Lieberthal? Is he the superior psychologist?