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Frustrating Phillies

Wow, was that not terrible last night?  I mean, seriously, was that for real?  The Phillies managed to hand another division game over to the Braves like they were held at gunpoint.  What a shame too because Cole Hamels pitched masterfully – no runs and 8 Ks over seven innings.  So the starting pitching held up just like on Opening Day and just as we expected coming into the season, but the offensive did not impress.  The Philllies bats have failed to score more than three runs in each other the first two games.  The timeliness of key hits has been also absent as the Phillies have failed to nurture leads and rack up insurance runs.  The baserunning last night was also a bit troubling. In the bottom of the seventh the Phils looked to be on the verge of busting the game wide open but ran into some trouble on the basepaths.  Shane Victornio was thrown out unwisely stealing third with Ryan Howard at the plate.  Then Howard himself was gunned down at the plate when he should have been safely parked at third.  But the real sad part is that this isn’t even why the Fightin’ lost last night.  As feared, the bullpen melted down like a chocolate bunny in the Sahara.

Now tell me, fans, entering the season, we all knew the bullpen was going to be the question mark but did we think it would start so soon and with Tom Gordon and Ryan Madson.  I figured at least these two guys could anchor the pen.  Madson was quoted in the Inky after his Opening Day loss as saying, "I just feel bad for my teammates for letting them down. Hopefully, it’s the last time I do it this season."  Oh Ryan, if you only knew… But seriously, Madson is a good pitcher – we all know that – I just hope these two outings don’t completely shatter his confidence.  Not many pitchers in baseball history have wound up with an 0-2 record after just two games.

And then there’s Tom Gordon, our closer turned opener as of late.  Last night, he gave up a two run homer in the ninth.  Of it, he said, "You throw your best pitch in those situations, and I felt my curveball was my best pitch. He hit a good pitch."  What ever happened to the fastball being a closer’s best pitch?  If Tom can’t throw his fastball by batters anymore, then this is going to be a really long season.

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