Thursday, July 1, 2010

That don't make no sense!

OK, people, explain this to me.

A shuffled lineup and the overwhelming presence of backup players did not seem to hurt the Phillies on Thursday night. The top three hitters in the order all reached base at least once. Greg Dobbs showed some life with just his second two-hit game of the season, and Jimmy Rollins displayed some necessary power from the three-hole with a double. Wilson Valdez went yard again and is now 7 for his last 22 (.318) with two bombs, 8 RBI and 6 runs scored.

Cole Hamels rebounded from his ugly start last Saturday, pitching seven quality innings. He allowed just five hits, struck out eight and didn't allow a home run for the first time since May. He also took a page out of Roy Halladay's control book, throwing 75 percent of his pitches for strikes.

And yet, the Phillies lost 3-2 to the Pirates, who are fading away toward their 18th straight losing season. They were beaten by a McCutchen, but not the one who is presently the only Pirate anyone outside of the Pittsburgh area can name. Daniel McCutchen was making just his second start since returning from a demotion to Triple-A (a return only made possible by an injury to Zach Duke). Before Thursday, McCutchen had yet to see his ERA fall into the single digits this season, but he is now the latest in a long line of pitching nobodies that looked like a somebody against the Philly lineup.

With so many injuries plaguing the team, the Phils needed their three-headed monster of Howard-Werth-Ibanez to do some damage, but tonight they looked like the three blind mice. 1-for-11 with no RBI, four strikeouts and seven runners stranded is not going to get the job done, guys. Everyone else did their job, but you left them hanging. Against the Pirates of all teams!

To be fair, things being the way they are, I wasn't expecting a sweep. The Bucs got themselves a win at home against the reigning NL champs. If the Phillies don't win these final three games, it'll be a long wait until the Trade Deadline.

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