The Phillies fell to the San Diego Padres, 6-1, today in a comedy of errors. In a game that featured a combined six errors between the two teams–plus plenty of mental mistakes that won’t appear on the scorecard–the Phillies inability to capitalize on mistakes by the Padres, coupled with the Padres opportunistic play, was the biggest reason for the loss.
– To answer the question posed by Pat in today’s Gameday, no, the Phillies would not outscore the Flyers, who put up five goals against the Penguins. This is not a surprising result for the Phillies and their offense at the moment. They have scored three runs or more in just six of their sixteen games this season.
– After starting the first inning with a walk, Juan Pierre was picked off first base–an early sign of the type of day it would be for the visiting team. On the pickoff move, Pierre flinched towards second before diving back to first late. The out proved costly as Victorino followed it up with a walk. Yonder Alonzo then booted a ground ball hit sharply to first by Rollins, before overthrowing Anthony Bass covering to give the Phillies a first and third with one out. Pierre’s mistake cost the Phillies at least a bases loaded situation with nobody out, and perhaps a run on the throwing error. When you’ve got a team that is as anemic offensively as the Phillies have been, you can’t afford to give away outs with baserunning errors. Pierre leaning on Bass is inexcusable, especially in a scenario where he’s never seen Bass’s pickoff move before.
– Jim Thome collected just his second hit of the season, both of them singles. Like many of the Phillies players, Thome is off to just a putrid start. He entered today’s game hitting just .077 in 13 at bats. He had seven strikeouts and just one walk. Today, Thome went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts and one walk. He also left three on base. With a veteran like Thome, who is known as a professional hitter, you expect him to come out of it. He is just in a funk at the moment.
Pitching and Defense
– The Phillies entered today’s game with the best defense in the NL, but they certainly didn’t look like it. Will Venable started the bottom of the first with a well-placed bunt for a hit. Mark Kotsay then hit an easy one hopper back to the mound that went off of Blanton’s glove for an error instead of a 1-6-3 doubleplay. Following Blanton’s error, Chase Headley doubled over the head of Hunter Pence to score a run and make it 1-0. The Padres would score once more in the inning on Nick Hundley’s sacrifice doubleplay. With Pierre’s gaffe in the top half of the inning, the Phils were plagued by errors (mental and literal) in both halves of the first inning.
– The Phillies porous defense continued in the third inning when Blanton issued a walk to Headley with two outs. It would come back to cost the Phillies as Hundley followed with a triple to score Headley, making it 3-1. Blanton then got Yonder Alonzo to roll over on a pitch, hitting it softly towards first. Thome fielded the ball, but overthrew Blanton covering the bag, giving the Padres yet another run. It would be the third unearned run of the game for the Padres.
– Blanton again walked Headley with two outs in the fifth. This time, Hundley followed up with a long two-run home run. The Padres scored four of their six runs with two outs, Blanton walks opening up the door for all four of them. After an electric performance in his first start of the season, Blanton has come back with two clunkers, allowing 7 earned runs over 11 innings.
– Though it won’t appear in the boxscore, Hunter Pence was especially shaky in right today, costing the Phils two runs on two bad plays. First he misread Headley’s double in the first inning, letting the ball get over his head and allowing a run to score. Then he got caught in between on Hundley’s third inning triple, diving for the ball and missing it instead of choosing to keep it in front of him. There has been discussion lately that perhaps Pence is feeling the pressure offensively and is starting to press a little bit at the plate (Pence entered today’s game hitting just .200 with RISP). Hopefully this isn’t an instance of a player taking a few bad games at the plate into the field with him.
– The Phillies made far too many mistakes to deserve a win today. The shame of it is, as bad as the Phils were, the Padres weren’t much better and the game was there for the taking for a while. When you’re plodding along like the Phillies are, games like this are the ones you have to win to get back on track. When the other team gives you opportunities, you have to take them. Right now, the Phillies are failing to capitalize on the opportunities other teams are affording them, and that is a big difference between this team and the Phillies teams of the last few years who were great at making teams pay for their mistakes.
– One last thought: Remember in the past when the Phils would get down in a game and you felt confident that they could stage the comeback? That feeling is completely absent right now–so much, in fact, that I had this recap ready to go around the sixth inning, certain that the deficit was too much for the bats to overcome.
– With the loss, the Phillies were unable to win a series in San Diego for the first time since 2006.
– The Phillies have won just one series so far this season, none on the road.
– As a team, the Phillies are now hitting just .227 with RISP, good for 21st in the majors.
– Up next: The Phils travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks in a three-game set. They’ll send Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.93) to the mound in place of the injured Cliff Lee. In 15 starts last season, Kendrick went 5-4 with a 3.14 ERA. Daniel Hudson (1-1, 6.00) is in line to make the start for the Diamondbacks.