Another Beat Down
Maybe, he said, the positive could be found in the negative.
“They took it to us,” he said. “They hit us and they outplayed us. We got beat pretty bad. … Sometimes if you’re going to lose a game and you get beat up, that can help you. It’s never good when you get beat. But at the same time, if you get beat bad enough, you see if you can come back. We’ve always been resilient. We’ve always managed to hold our own. Hopefully, that’s how we’re going to come out and play tomorrow.”
What else can he say at this point?
The Phillies have lost 13 of their last 17 games and hold just a half-game lead over the Marlins in the National League East. Jimmy Rollins is hitless in 27 at-bats, which is the longest hitless streak of his career. (He went hitless in 25 at-bats from June 18-24, 2002.) Cole Hamels is 4-5 with a 4.98 ERA. (Hamels said he is healthy.) They have the worst rotation in the National League and now the bullpen is struggling.
If J.A. Happ can beat the Braves in the series finale tonight, the Phillies will return home 5-13 in their last 18. They had a 5-13 stretch June 10-29 last season, when the starters had a 4.66 ERA and the bullpen had a 3.27 ERA. The Phillies also hit .227 and scored just 76 runs (4.22 runs per game) in that stretch.
The Phillies have hit .233 and scored 74 runs (4.35 runs per game) in their current 17-game slide. But the starters have a 5.42 ERA and the bullpen has a 6.21 ERA.
The big difference between these two skids is last season the Phillies felt confident the hitting would turn around and combine with good pitching. This year the Phillies are confident the hitting will turn around (it will help to have Raul Ibanez back in the lineup), but the pitching remains a major concern.
The Phillies turned it around after a 5-13 stretch last year. It can happen again. But just because it happened once, it doesn’t mean it will happen twice. Especially if the pitching doesn’t improve. It must.