You can chalk it up to the law of averages if you want. Or you can say they’re just not hitting early in the season, like just about every other season the past decade. Maybe you’d rather blame the absence of Jimmy Rollins. There are a multitude of excuses for the way the Phillies have played the past 10 games, but they certainly don’t look like the dominant team fans expected would go wire to wire to the NL East title.
In fact, after they struggled to do much of anything against the previously scuffling Todd Wellemeyer in a 6-2 loss to the Giants on Tuesday night at AT&T Park, the Phillies fell out of first place for the first time since May 29, 2009.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Jayson Werth double and a Raul Ibanez sacrifice fly, but the inning could have been more productive if not for Ryan Howard getting thrown out at second in a combination of embarrassingly bad baserunning by Howard and a laser throw by right fielder Nate Schierholtz. Because the Phils obviously weren’t paying attention, Schierholtz (who had 10 outfield assists last season) would later throw out Chase Utley on a bullet throw from right-field that never touched the turf – making the night a microcosm of how the 2010 Phillies have not been the same team on the basepaths as in recent seasons.
The Giants quickly took the lead in the bottom of the inning on a pair of solo homers off Jamie Moyer, who allowed four runs on 10 hits. His counterpart, however, didn’t give up much of anything after the second. Ryan Howard got the only hit off Wellemeyer after that inning, a single. And to top it off, the bullpen added to its recent struggles as Chad Durbin gave up a pair of runs in the seventh. But with the Phillies not being able to consistently hit any pitcher wearing a Giants jersey (a trend likely to continue Wednesday afternoon against Tim Lincecum), it was moot.
About the only positive to take from the night was that J.C. Romero – who is returning from left elbow surgery – pitched a scoreless eighth. The outing went much better than his first appearance of the season Friday at Arizona, when he allowed a home run and a walk without retiring a batter.