2012 Game Recaps

Phillies Drop Fifth Straight Game

Hunter Pence and the Phillies seem to have run into a wall during their current five-game losing streak. PHOTO: AP

The misery of Phillies fans everywhere continued tonight as the Dodgers managed to win another close game against the Phillies by a score of 6-5. The loss would be the Phillies fifth in a row, dropping them two games below .500. Coupled with a Nationals win, the loss puts the Phillies six games out of first place, eight back in the loss column.

KENDRICK DOESN’T ANSWER THE CALL:

Kyle Kendrick had pitched well lately, and the Phillies needed him to step up and stop  a losing streak tonight. He withered like a flower without water in the face of the challenge.

– After getting through the first two innings pretty easily, Kendrick got hurt in the third by a single, an RBI triple,  and a John Mayberry error. The sequence would yield two Dodgers runs and give them the lead. Kendrick would follow that up by working himself into a one-out, bases loaded jam. To his credit, KK worked out of it without letting up anymore runs. But it would not be the end of the Dodgers scoring.

–  In the sixth, Kendrick would be charged with three more runs, though two of them came with Raul Valdes on the mound.  It was a disappointing effort for Kendrick, as the offense twice spotted him a lead, and he twice gave it away. To have the pitcher blow the lead when the hitters are finally able to score some runs perfectly encapsulates the season so far. When the pitching is going well, the bats are silent, and vice versa.

OFFENSE DOESN’T DO ENOUGH:

– The offense showed a little life tonight by scoring five runs. It wasn’t an offensive explosion, however, and the four runs would not be enough to get the win.

Shane Victorino homered in the second inning to get the scoring started. It was the first time Victorino, who is hitting just (.152) over his last ten games, had an extra base hit since doubling on May 26 against the Cardinals. He would drive another ball well in the ninth, but Tony Gwynn was able to get under it.

Jimmy Rollins gave the Phillies the lead, 4-2, in the fifth inning when he followed up Ty Wigginton‘s solo home run with a two-run shot of his own. The home run was Rollins’s third of the season. After slumping through the first two months of the season, Rollins has started June off on a bit of a hot streak. He’s hitting .308 (8-for-28), with a home run, two triples, and a double since June 1st. After hitting .239 through the first two months of the season, a hot Rollins would be a huge shot in the arm for the offense. Throughout his career, Rollins has had a tendency to start slowly before picking it up in June, and his 2012 splits are currently all well below his career averages. There’s reason to believe he can be better than he has been. At this point, when you’re clinging to any glimmer of hope you can find, Rollins could provide reason to be optimistic.

LATE-INNING STRUGGLES:

– The struggles the Phillies have had coming up big late in games have been well-documented. They’re now 0-22 in games in which they trailed after the seventh inning. For the third time this series, the Phillies failed to score a run after the fifth inning. These game stories are getting easier to write because I can pretty much assume the Phils won’t win if they’re down late. This team just doesn’t seem to have that spark, and they never have someone step up and will them to victory.

ANOTHER ONE-RUN GAME, ANOTHER LOSS:

– So far this season, the Phillies have gone 5-10 in one-run games, including losing all three of these games against the Dodgers by the slimmest of margins. During the five-year run of division titles, winning one-run games was something of a calling cards for the Phillies. From 2007-2011, the Phillies went 122-103 (.542) in one-run games. That number is even better if you don’t include 2007, when the Phils went 14-23 in one-run games. Right now, the Phillies record in one-run games is pretty much the difference between last place and fighting for first place in the division. They need to start winning some of these close ones. Good teams find ways to win close games.

INJURIES:

Hunter Pence appeared to hurt his wrist in the third inning when he crashed into the right field wall going back on Tony Gwynn’s triple. Pence would stay in the game after some motion testing by Scott Sheridan, but it may be something to monitor.

– In the fifth inning, Freddy Galvis appeared to injure his back swinging at a pitch. Again Scott Sheridan would venture out from the dugout, and, unlike Hunter Pence, Galvis would not be able to continue. He would attempt finish out his at-bat, but after a few pitches, he was unable to continue. He was replaced in the at-bat by Mike Fontenot, who walked. After the game, it was announced that Galvis would be placed on the 15-day DL. A corresponding move will be announced tomorrow.

– More injuries is just about the last thing this Phillies team needs. You begin to wonder how much more they can endure if Galvis misses extended time, considering their already lengthy DL and the struggles of their offense this season. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard seem to be progressing, and they can’t get back fast enough.

GAME NOTES:

– The Philles five-game losing streak is their longest of the season.  They’ll look to end the streak and salvage a game from this series when they send Cole Hamels to the mound against Aaron Harang tomorrow afternoon.

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