Monday, August 30, 2010

Figuring out the Phils

If someone has figured out this Phillies team, please let the rest of us in on the secret.

After looking thoroughly inept and about to fall out of the playoff race in dropping four straight at home to the lowly Houston Astros, the Phils had their work cut out for them as they jetted across the country for a weekend set with the best team in the National League.

For a team struggling offensively, the thought of three games against the best pitching staff and ERA in baseball did not bode well for the Phils.

So of course the Phils simply reversed course and promptly beat the Padres three straight times.

In doing so, they actually beat San Diego at their own game. The Phils out-pitched and out-fielded the Padres, whose normally sure-handed defense let them down.

Hard-luck Cole Hamels wasn’t taking any chances yesterday. Again and again this year the team has failed to score for Hamels. He took care of that by blanking the Padres over eight strong innings.

Brad Lidge, who had blown a save opportunity on Friday night by balking home the tying run, then retired the Padres 1-2-3 Saturday night, was not needed on Sunday.

With the 5-0 lead the Phils called on Ryan Madson to close the door in the ninth. He did just that.

The bad news is despite winning three straight, the Phils failed to gain ground on the Braves. That’s in part due to the largesse of the Marlins, who managed to blow a 6-1 lead to Atlanta. The Braves scored three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth – including a walk-off homer by catcher Brian McCann that had to be reviewed by instant replay.

Now the Phils head to L.A. and three games against the Dodgers.

The only thing you can be sure of is that you really don’t know which Phillies team will show up.

But I do know this. With Roy Halladay on the hill tonight, I like the Phils’ chances.


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