Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Fine Mess

This much we know:

There is no immediate help down on the farm. Eude Brito arrived with a lot less fanfare than Cole Hamels and proceeded to justify the lower expectations on merit by yielding six runs in four innings Saturday in an 8-2 loss to the Dodgers. Brito began the game by giving up four straight hits.

Clay Condrey followed and had his first rough outing since joining the Phils, proving if nothing else there was a good reason why we hadn’t heard that much about the 30-year old pitcher before now.

On Friday evening Ryan Madson reminded us once more why he belongs in the bullpen. More than a few pundits have labeled him a one pitch hurler, but damned if I know which pitch that really is.

And, finally, Gavin Floyd was demoted to AAA Scranton where he will, in no particular order, attempt to: rediscover his confidence; loosen his grip on his fastball so that it arrives at the plate a little quicker and with something on it; and attempt to get meaner at the behest of his manager. The getting meaner part is going to be tough, especially when one recalls that last year Floyd hit an inordinate number of batters. Maybe what I thought was mean was just his poor command.

There may be help down the road, but right now the Phillies’ overall pitching is a bigger mess than at any time this season.

Finally, more than a few players and their manager noted how tough it is to constantly look up at the scoreboard and see you are trailing, but, frankly, coming from Chase Utley, it was all the more noteworthy. Here is how Todd Zolecki quoted the Phils’ second baseman: When you're always trying to come back, it makes it more difficult. But when you're in those situations, you have to do whatever it takes to get on base, just to put some runs across the board." The Phillies should be worried their most valuable player is showing the strains of playing catch up all the time. While all of us look at him and see Utley manning second base in Philadelphia for the next ten years or more, there’s nothing guaranteed about his remaining here that long.

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