The Phillies just can’t seem to make it over the hump. They had another opportunity to get back to .500 tonight, but as has happened every time they’ve had that chance since April 14–the last time they were even–they squandered it.
Jonathan Pettibone put the Phils in an early hole, and the offense wasn’t up the task of an uphill battle, as the hometown nine fell to the Red Sox 9-2. They’ll try to reach the .500 plateau once again this weekend.
PERCENTAGES CATCH UP WITH PETTIBONE
– Through seven starts, Pettibone has been about as good as can be expected from a 22-year old during his first stint in the big leagues. But he’s also been very lucky with men on base, stranding 85.3% of baserunners, which is about 15% more than the league average. Tonight, his luck would finally give out, and fast. He gave up four runs in the first, allowing all but one of the baserunners who reached to score. Remarkably, he’d prevent the Red Sox from scoring after the first, despite allowing a baserunner in each of his five innings.
– Pettibone clearly wasn’t sharp tonight. He struggled with his control big time. He walked four and worked six three-ball counts. Given the amount of baserunners Pettibone allowed (with the 6 hits, his WHIP was an even 2.00), it’s pretty uncanny he only allowed four runs. It was the bullpen that imploded.
DELMON HOMERS, PHILS SQUANDER BIG OPPORTUNITY
– Delmon Young must’ve heard how much I’ve criticized him since the Phils signed him, because every time I recap a game, he homers. Tonight’s bomb came in the bottom of the first inning and was of the two-run variety, a rarity for these Phillies. Young hasn’t done much this year–though he continues to hit in the middle of the order–but he made it count with the homer batting cleanup for the first time as a Phillie. He also recorded an outfield assist tonight.
– The Phils’ best chance to score after the first came when they loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. With Boston starter Franklin Morales seemingly on the ropes, struggling to locate and looking a little rattled, Erik Kratz bailed him out. First he swung at a ball in the dirt on a 2-1 pitch. On the next pitch, with a 2-2 count instead of a 3-1, Kratz rolled a dead doubleplay ball to shortstop. The Sox easily turned it and the Phils failed to get even a single run. Expanding the zone on the 2-1 pitch really changed the tone of the at-bat. Having just walked Kevin Frandsen to load the bases, Morales should have been facing a 3-1 count. It was a huge mistake by Kratz to chase there. The Phillies are now 4-for-29 with the bases loaded this season. They’ve grounded into doubleplays three times in those instances.
– As for Domonic Brown, his hot streak continued. He went 2-for-4 with two singles. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that the team only had six hits, it’s quite a contribution.
HERNANDEZ INTRODUCES HIMSELF WITH A NICE GAME
– It didn’t take Cesar Hernandez long to get his first hit in his first big league start. He sent a liner into left in the first inning. To boot, it came after he worked a 3-2 count. It was the first of two hits for Hernandez on the night. He also started a nifty doubleplay in the fourth inning. Not a bad first start for the young prospect, and a highlight in an otherwise forgettable night.
DURBIN GOES DURBIN
– In case you were wondering, Chad Durbin is still on this team. He made that abundantly clear tonight, when he turned in another vintage performance, transforming an unremarkable game into a blowout in an instant. Before Durbin could get a second out, the BoSox had three runs in the ninth, and suddenly it was 9-2. Will this be enough for the Phils to part ways with Durbin? It’s a move that’s been a long time coming.
– Brown was caught stealing for the first time this season in the first inning. He had been 3-for-3 prior to being thrown out tonight.
– Speaking of steals, Jacoby Ellsbury did something pretty rare tonight. He stole five bases to set a new Boston Red Sox record. It also marks the first time the Phillies have allowed five stolen bases since 1916, when the MLB started keeping such records.
– The fifth and sixth inning solo home runs Jeremy Horst were the first runs Horst allowed in ten appearances.