Another night, another loss. It’s a familiar story in Philadelphia these days. This time, the Phillies lost 6-3 in front of a lifeless home crowd that had mostly retreated by the time the final out was recorded. Looking back at the Phillies’ history since moving to Citizens Bank Park, this final series before the All Star Break has to be absolute rock bottom. They’ve now lost 9-of-10.
HANSON DAZZLES THE OFFENSE
– Earlier this season, the Phillies knocked around Tommy Hanson in Atlanta, chasing him from the game before he could finish the fourth inning. Following a three-run second tonight–an outburst that included a Joe Blanton one-out, one-run single to give the Phillies the lead–it looked as though the Phils might be able to touch up Hanson again. It was a mirage, however, as the right-hander would retire thirteen straight batters, and 15-of-17 following that second inning. He struck out six and walked just one, and allowed just two hits outside of that second inning. He flat out dominated during his eight innings of work. Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth and put the Phils away 1-2-3.
PROTOTYPICAL JOE BLANTON
– Tonight’s start was typical of Joe Blanton, who has been the epitome of hit-or-miss this season. He’d go 6.1 innings, alloweing five earned runs. In nine of his eighteen starts this season, Blanton’s allowed four runs or more. In seven of those starts, he’s allowed at least five earned runs. Seeing that he had a decent outing in his last start, he could be expected to turn in a less than stellar effort. Considering how dominant Hanson was, Blanton needed to come close to replicating his complete game shutout of the Braves on May 3 to give his team a chance to win. He stood no chance.
– Since going 3-for-5 in his 2012 debut, things have been rocky for Chase Utley. He’s gone just 4-for-25 (160), with one walk, one home run, two RBI and no other extra base hits. He hasn’t been nearly as electric as he was in that first start. These games are essentially the equivalent of what would be spring training for Utley, so there isn’t too much cause for concern yet. With his numbers declining each year, though, you’d like to see a sign at some point from Utley that he can be some semblance of the player he once was. I don’t think we’ll ever see the Utley of old again, but he’s under contract for next season, and really needs to show he has something left as the season moves forward.
– Vance Worley will try to take the Phillies into the All Star break with a sliver of dignity tomorrow, but, the way this team’s playing right now, it’ll take one hell of an effort from Vanimal. Jair Jurrjens will pitch for the Braves.