I was out of town for the finale versus the Nationals last Thursday and all three games against old nemesis Florida and thus missed (or was spared depending on your point of view) watching the Phils' three losses in their last four games. Thanks to ESPN and the NY Times, however, the gory details were readily available.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the Phils are not going to win often when their offense goes cold, not unless Roy Halladay is scheduled to pitch. As the Phils move on to Atlanta to begin a three game series against the Braves, however, the brutal reality is that no amount of offense may be sufficient when you are sending Kyle Kendrick and Jamie Moyer to the mound. The only good news is that their starts sandwich Halladay's, who is slotted to pitch the second game. Kendrick should be one start from a demotion to AAA, but given the Phils' desperation to find five healthy starters he figures to stick around despite his awful outings to date. Moyer is making Ruben Amaro's decision to sign him for more than one year look as bad as the Ibanez signing.
Cole Hamels temporarily stifled the growing concern about his toughness when he settled down after surrendering a home run to Dan Uggla to pitch eight impressive innings on Sunday. Some how Hamels seems incapable of getting through a game without giving up a dinger, but he bore down afterwards in what turned out to be his best outing in a long time dating back to last year.
Word that J.A. Happ has a forearm strain and will miss a start only deepened the gloom concerning the Phillies starting pitching, however, and Ryan Madson's umpteenth audition for the role of closer also brought little comfort as he continued to pitch erratically. Sunday he allowed an inherited base runner to score Florida's second run rather than shut the door in what was a one run game at the time. Florida won 2-0.
What began as uncharacteristically fast start albeit against weak opposition could easily be near the .500 mark by week's end unless Kendrick and Moyer surprise to the upside. Don't hold your breath.