Power Outage

Phillies starter Vance Worley pitched well, giving up only a two-run homer in the seventh inning. But he got little support in the loss to Colorado.
Phillies starter Vance Worley pitched well, giving up only a two-run homer in the seventh inning. But he got little support in the loss to Colorado. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 22, 2012

One by one, they walked to the dugout as the boos rained down. First, Chad Qualls, then Hunter Pence, then Shane Victorino. In order: a suspect relief appearance, a strikeout with the tying run on second and nobody out, a pop-out with the tying run on third.

This was the eighth inning of a 4-1 loss to the Rockies, but it could have been any of a number of frames that the crowd at Citizens Bank Park has witnessed this season. Too little power, too little relief pitching, too little clutch.

The Phillies hope it will not be their epitaph, but hope alone does not win ball games. They entered the day with plenty of it, fresh off one of their most dramatic victories of the season, a 7-6 thriller that ended on a fielding error in the bottom of the ninth inning and generated hope that the cosmos were beginning to tilt in their favor.

They finished the evening in front of a mostly empty stadium, five games under .500, still stuck in last place.

"We won the series, but at the same time, this game would have been a real good one to win," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But we didn't get it done, so we have to come out tomorrow with the outlook that we are going to win tomorrow's game, that we're going to play better."

On nights like Thursday, the best thing you can say about the Phillies is that they are remarkably adept at sucking the electricity out of a sellout crowd. They saw just five pitches before scoring their first run - a leadoff homer by Jimmy Rollins - then saw 132 pitches attempting to score their second. The attempt failed.

Twice, the Phillies failed to take advantage of a leadoff double, stranding John Mayberry Jr. in the second inning and Ty Wigginton in the eighth. They went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They stranded seven.

After Rollins' home run, his fifth of the season, the Phillies bats were muted by 31-year-old lefty Jeff Francis, who entered the night with an ERA over 12.

"I felt like we were going to score some runs off of Francis," Manuel said. "We didn't get the big hit on him. He held us."

Vance Worley made the 1-0 lead stick for 62/3 innings, but with two outs in the seventh inning Chris Nelson drilled a 2-1 slider into the left-field seats for a two-run home run that gave the Rockies the 2-1 lead.

Now, the Phillies must deal with American League contender Tampa Bay, which starts a three-game series in South Philadelphia on Friday. The Phillies are 11-26 against teams with winning records this season. They are 14-7 against the teams with the five worst records in baseball.

The Phillies ended up winning the series, but winning series might not be enough for a team that ended the day with a nine-game deficit in the division standings.


Contact David Murphy

at dmurphy@phillynews.com

 

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