Just when you think it can’t get any worse.
It was supposed to be a strategic move by Charlie Manuel. With the right handed Lance Berkman coming to the plate, Manuel brought in left handed pitcher J.C. Romero to face him. In my estimation Romero probably threw 10-12 warm up pitches before facing Berkman. Any one of them could have been better than the one he actually offered up to him.
One pitch. One hit. One run. Game over.
The Phillies were once again playing without their most valuable weapon tonight; the offense. This is now the sixth time in their last 11 games where they have managed five hits or less.
Having now lost four games in a row, the Phillies were also swept for the first time this season. Roy Oswalt came out firing tonight. Against his ex-teammate Berkman, Oswalt hit 96 on the radar gun. The adrenaline facing an old friend can do that, he was sitting regularly around 91-92 on his fastball. Oswalt went five innings and gave up one run while throwing 76 pitches.
Michael Stutes came in to pitch the sixth inning but lasted only three pitches and was motioning towards his right shoulder as he walked off the field. It seems he has a strained muscle in his ride side. Kyle Kendrick came in for relief and only allowed one hit in two innings of work.
The Phillies were the last team in the majors to lose three straight games this season. Like I said in the Gameday, and hoped it wouldn’t happen, this is the first four game skid for the Phillies since August of last season. As a team the Phils have only scored seven runs on 17 hits during this losing streak.
We can’t entirely put the blame on Romero here. Danys Baez was called on to pitch the ninth inning with hopes of going into extra innings. That didn’t work out so well. Baez allowed three consecutive singles without recording an out. Two batters later Romero is in the game and Berkman hits a walk-off RBI single. Cardinals win 2-1.
Ryan Howard did not reach base safely for the first time in 23 games in his hometown of St. Louis. He was 0-4 with three strikeouts on the night.
Michael ‘Mini-Mart’ Martinez had two hits and John Mayberry Jr is now 2-2 in stolen bases against the Cardinals this season.
We all know the hitting is not there, but is Manuel misusing his pitching staff? Should Stutes been given the night off? Would you have let Baez face Berkman?
So many questions. Only guarantee right now is the Phillies will be back home tomorrow to face the Rockies. Hopefully there are some runs waiting at CBP.
The Phillies have 15 more games before a day off. Plenty of time to actually earn it.