It’s not the best way to end a nine-game road trip, heading into six games against the class of the American League. But the Phils lost, 7-6, despite clawing back and forcing extra innings. A sure third out that was lost in the daylight won the game for the Cardinals, giving the Phils their second straight series loss and dropping their lead in the NL East to three games.
Blame can go a lot of places here, but it starts completely with Brett Myers, who once again provided little chance for the Phillies bats to stay with the Cards. He gave up six earned runs on eight hits (two home runs, making it 20) in his six innings of work. He left pitches over the plate, had no command of his breaking pitches and generally looked lost out there. The decline of Brett Myers is now an absolute concern for the Phillies, and not just for 2008, but for the future. A man who the Phils pegged as a top-line starter has become, at best, a last option. And there’s no explanation.
It started poor and ended poor. Tom Gordon surrendered the final run after never seeing a Chase Utley toss for the potential third out at first base. Ironically enough, almost the same exact play occurred a few plays before that. There were two outs then, too. Once that play occurred, I swallowed my breath hard. “Here we go,” I said.
When you say that after a meaningless error with two outs, something is wrong. For the second straight game Gordon couldn’t hold the tie. This coming off recent news Charlie Manuel is watching Gordon’s workload very close. Clearly there’s something wrong here. Clearly Gordon isn’t the guy for these high-pressure situations. Sure he had a great run after Opening Day, but who would you want bridging the gap to Brad Lidge or holding a tie in September?
Between Myers’ bad pitching and the fatal errors the offense scored enough to tie the game though they left an astounding 27 men on base. Chase Utley, 0-for-4, had a huge chance to seize the lead in the 10th but flied out. Geoff Jenkins left six men on, including three in a eighth inning where bad control brought home the two runs to bridge the gap. On a positive note, Ryan Howard continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-4 day and four RBI. He now has 58 on the season.
But that’s practically the only positive from this one. The loss stung, especially with the way the supposed ace pitched. Is it time to seek alternatives in the rotation? Is a phantom trip to the DL in line for Myers? He needs to do some explaining â€” it’s bad enough he’s had a horrible year, what’s most troubling is we don’t even know why.
Associated Press photo