Phillies mauled by Marlins, 9-2

Posted: August 16, 2012

MIAMI - These are the dog days of an irrelevant summer, the moments when the Phillies quietly reinforce their doomed fate in 2012 and no one really notices. Three consecutive wins before Wednesday had pushed them to just eight games under .500, their best mark since the end of June.

"We're still breathing," manager Charlie Manuel had said the night before, and he could only say it in the literal sense Wednesday after a 9-2 beating by the Miami Marlins.

Manuel submitted a lineup that included four players who had spent more time in an IronPigs uniform than in Phillies pinstripes. Three relievers who began the season in the minor leagues were battered by a team that hadn't scored in three games.

Make no mistake: They are playing out the string toward an October without postseason baseball in Philadelphia for the first time in six years. The Phillies were trailing by one when the eighth inning began, and Manuel summoned righthander B.J. Rosenberg, who had an 8.53 ERA in six appearances.

By the time the inning mercifully ended, Miami had sent 10 men to the plate and scored six times.

The Rosenbergs of the roster will be tested during the season's final 45 games. It's tryout time.

"That's going to mean a whole lot to us," Manuel said. "We should get a real good read on the guys that are playing right now and our pitchers. That's a part of playing them and getting them big-league experience. They'll be in big-league games, getting big-league experience, and, plus, we're getting a look at them."

Rosenberg failed to retire all three of the batters he faced. Raul Valdes allowed another baserunner, and Michael Schwimer was charged with two more runs.

"I'm going to play them," Manuel said. "I think it's a good chance to play those guys."

This game began as a duel - the 12th time in baseball history that two pitchers who had tossed perfect games opposed one another. Roy Halladay was decent for seven innings, although his foil was Greg Dobbs, a former hero on the Phillies' World Series team cast away two years later.

Halladay threw Dobbs a first-pitch, 81-m.p.h. change-up in the sixth inning that landed as a go-ahead home run. Halladay said it was a pitch he wanted back.

"It was just kind of in his bat speed," said Halladay, always diplomatic as possible with his insults.

Halladay threw at least 100 pitches for the first time in 95 days, which qualifies as one of the stranger things to happen in a weird season. His 108 pitches Wednesday were the most since April 21, when he threw 119.

If anything, it's at least a barometer that life is improving for Halladay. He has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last four starts, with a 2.25 ERA in that stretch.

"I wasn't as sharp as my last start," Halladay said. "But I felt like I'm still able to make good pitches and give us a chance and get deep in the game. I feel like earlier on, if I wasn't really spotting it, I was in trouble. I feel like now I have more room for error, and on days where I'm not exactly where I want, I feel like I have a chance to get us deep and give us a chance. That's a big difference."

Miami endured a 30-inning scoreless streak before dinging Halladay for two runs in the fourth inning.

"The law of averages catches up with you," Manuel said.

The same could be said of this Phillies team. Two hours and 39 minutes of baseball proved it will be arduous to reach .500, let alone harbor wild dreams of a comeback.


Contact Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @magelb.

 

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