Thursday, August 28, 2008

So Much For Momentum

Less than twenty-four hours earlier the Phillies had electrified their fans and all of baseball with a thrilling, dramatic comeback victory that catapulted them into first place, a half game over the Mets. They faced the daunting task of further consolidating that lead against Johann Santana, who had completely dominated them in two previous outings.

The Phillies wasted little time in getting to Santana, scoring two runs in the first inning on Ryan Howard's thirty-sixth home run and adding another on Jayson Werth's solo shot in the second. But the bullpen, stellar the night before but threadbare after so many of their number had labored in that great victory, coughed up the lead and then the game as the Mets turned the tables and rallied for the 6-3 win, a split of the brief series, and the lead in the NL East.

The Phils only managed six hits against five NY pitchers while their own staff allowed thirteen. Kyle Kendrick started and scattered eight hits and two earned runs. Scott Eyre pitched two very good innings but Rudy Seanez followed and gave up the winning runs. Brad Lidge was also touched for two earned runs but by then the game was lost.

A let down was almost inevitable after Tuesday night's marathon, but the Phils overcame their biggest hurdle in getting a lead against Santana. Unfortunately, the offense went cold after that and the bullpen uncharacteristically surrendered the lead.

Things don't get easier as the Phils flew off to Chicago for a four-game holiday weekend set. The Cubs not only have the best record in baseball, they are 33 games above .500 for the first time since the end of World War II.

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