Monday, August 03, 2009

Wake Up, Cliff, It Just Seems You're In Cleveland

After watching his new teammates sleep walk through the city by the Bay, Cliff Lee could be forgiven if he thought he'd been traded to the Phillies for one night only. Surely, he must have thought as he turned black and blue from pinching himself, this can't be the high-powered offense I'd heard so much about. These guys look an awful lot like the Cleveland Indians when it comes to run support.

Ah, but as they say in baseball, give the other guys some credit. The Phillies ran into some damn good pitching and as they also say in baseball, good know the rest.

In a series billed as a potential preview of a post-season matchup, the Phillies batters blinked not once, not twice but three times, wasting at least one excellent start by Joe Blanton in the process. It is safe to say now that Blanton and Lee are the Phils' one-two punch, not Hamels and Lee. Oh, sure, Hamels pitched decently but not that decently. Any time the pitcher, his manager and pitching coach all say the line score looked worse than the actual performance you know they are collectively in back-track mode. There was the usual Ryan Howard flub at first base, the dink hit here and there and that lack of support we mentioned above, but Hamels was only sharp for a few innings in yesterday's outing.

The three losses in San Francisco also underscored how much the Phillies success thus far can be laid at the feet of the rest of the NL East, except for their most recent march through Georgia. When it comes to playing the AL East or portions of the NL West in the two principal cities in the Golden State, the Phils have been pretty lame.

Now they get a day off to lick their wounds and prepare for the Colorado Rockies at home. This should be another test of just how well these Phillies can play against good opposition.

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