Just when you thought it was over. Just when you thought it was back to normal. Just when you thought this team was turning it around, they go and lay an egg.
The Phillies offense did one of their all-too-familiar disappearing acts as Josh Johnson completely shut them down in the Marlins 2-0 win. Johnson was a step ahead of Phillies ace Roy Halladay tonight. The Florida ace tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing only four Phillies to reach base on the evening (three hits, one walk). To end his outing, JJ sat down 17 Phillies in a row. The final hit of the night for the Fightin’-(less) came on a double by Shane Victorino in the third. That was it.
No blame can be placed upon the sterling right arm of Roy Halladay. If he decided to go bonkers in the clubhouse and ream out his teammates, would anyone blink an eye? Doc now has four losses on the season, even though his ERA sunk to a ridiculous 1.96 for the season. Forget about the 25 wins you thought Halladay could take a run at. That’s now out the door.
You can give thanks to the absent Phillies offense for that. In fairness, Josh Johnson is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. His fastball touched 97 throughout the game and his slider was devastating. Charlie Manuel agreed that tonight, it was more about the guys throwing than the guys trying to hit. “I felt like tonight it was good pitching,” said Manuel. “Johnson’s tough. He had good stuff, he’s very good.”
Halladay was very good in his own right, but his laborious first frame was just enough to send him to his fourth loss this year. In seven of his 13 starts this season, he’s allowed one run or less. The Phillies ace tried to find the silver lining in all of this, just as the rest of the jaded Phillies starters have done previously. “I think it says more about him [Johnson] than I think it says about our offense,” Halladay said. “We swung the bats well the day before yesterday and we just ran into a hot pitcher.”
Doc can deflect the attention away from the struggling offense all he wants, but this is no longer a slump. These are the Phillies we now know. Jayson Werth continued to flail, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Ryan Howard struck out to end the game, something Werth has done twice in the last week. It’s ugly and it may only get worse.
The Phils now head north to Boston for the weekend to face the team that had their hand in starting this whole mess. They just laid another egg. It’s starting to smell in here.