Monday, September 06, 2010

On Again Off Again Offense

The Phils split a day-night doubleheader with Florida yesterday to move to within a half a game of first place Atlanta.

In the opener rookie Vance Worley got the start and acquitted himself decently, yielding two earned runs in five innings of work, striking out five and walking one. Florida helped him out by stranding a boatload of runners. He must have felt like a veteran, however, as the Phils managed three measly hits, one until the seventh inning. Why should you be any different, Vance?

On the other side, Florida's Adalberto Mendez who, according to the Inquirer, "was making his major-league debut five days after being knocked out in the fourth inning of his previous start against triple-A Memphis", made the Phillies look pathetic. Their inability to put together a string of good games with the bat is no longer an aberration. It's fair to say the season's outcome will depend on their not going into a multi-game slide on offense, hardly a unlikely scenario given how many times the hitters have disappeared. Good pitching wins games but only when you score something!!

In the nightcap, Roy Oswalt wasn't his sharpest, yielding three home runs, but he held on as the Phils bats came alive en route to a 7-4 victory. The game was notable for the unusual and perhaps here-to-stay lineup featuring Shane Victorino at the top and Jimmy Rollins in the five hole. Jayson Werth got the night off so the new-look lineup will change in at least one spot when play resumes tonight. Apparently Charlie is tired of watching Werth lunge, half swing or just stand there with that blank stare of his as fastballs pour down Broadway. Dominic Brown got the start in the nightcap and clearly looks like he is still trying to adjust. Frankly, it cannot be easy for him when he gets six AB's a week.

On a positive note, Chase Utley hit the ball hard in the nightcap and looks more comfortable every day at the plate. The same cannot be said for Ryan Howard, who is flat out lost at the plate at this time.

While the Phils have been mostly winning, Atlanta has been mostly losing lately. Less than a month ago they had a five game lead. Last night the lowly Pirates helped the Phils out beating Tommy Hanson 3-1. The division has been there for the taking for a few weeks now; it remains to be seen if the offense can contribute as much as the pitching has.

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