Trade talks with Roy Oswalt have stalled just a bit; the Phillies are balking at his need for a guaranteed option year. However, the Phils didn’t do much to help their case in luring the Houston ace to the City of Brotherly Love losing a third straight game to the Cardinals and six of their last seven. Oswalt, who has a full no-trade clause, has made it clear he wants to go to a team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt.
The Phillies think they still are. The only problem is they aren’t playing like it.
For a second straight game the Phillies have only managed one run. For the series they have only scored six times. A huge difference to St. Louis who have put 20 on the board in the first three games. Joe Blanton (3-6, 6.03) pitched well through the first six innings allowing only one run. Matt Holliday led off the seventh with a home run that put the Cards ahead for good. The one extra run was plenty. Blanton then allowed three runs in the eighth after a lead off single by Aaron Miles followed by an error charged to catcher Carlos Ruiz which allowed Brendan Ryan to reach base. The next hitter Felipe Lopez hit a two-run double to right field and later scored on a Colby Rasmus sac fly.
Did Charlie Manuel leave him in too long? Blanton has always been an inning eater but has managed to implode in almost every outing for at least one inning.
Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia (9-4, 2.21) went seven innings allowing one run and four hits. The Phillies put some pressure on Garcia with the bases loaded in the seventh but Blanton struck out swinging for the final out. Again, why not put a pinch hitter in that spot? The percentage of a ball in play from a bench player would have been greatly higher than allowing Blanton to take swings.
The one bright spot was Ryan Howard hitting his 22nd home run and collecting RBI number 75. He is tied for 2nd in the NL for home runs and leads the league in RBIs. He drove in and scored the only run in the 5-1 loss.
The Phillies will send Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.63) to the hill tomorrow to face Adam Wainwrigth (14-5, 2.02). Game time is 2:15 EST.