Phillies offense, bullpen waste effort by Cloyd

Starter Tyler Cloyd pitched 61/3 strong innings, but the Phillies bullpen surrendered two runs late in a 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. It was the Phillies' third straight defeat. More on D3.
Starter Tyler Cloyd pitched 61/3 strong innings, but the Phillies bullpen surrendered two runs late in a 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. It was the Phillies' third straight defeat. More on D3. (Associated Press)
Posted: May 12, 2013

PHOENIX - Jimmy Rollins never shed his batting gloves. With the tying run 90 feet away, he tapped one to first base that sealed a 3-2 Phillies loss. Rollins retreated to the clubhouse with the rest of his downtrodden teammates and went straight to one of the five laptops in the middle of the room.

For 16 minutes, Rollins watched. Dressed in full uniform, he moved the mouse with his right glove. He tapped on the keyboard with his left glove. He stood up, pretended to swing, and pulled off his No. 11 jersey.

Next to him, Laynce Nix shook his head. Rollins stopped, looked at the video, and commiserated with him.

"When you lose and you don't hit, you can pick apart the game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "You can do that every night."

Just about every night the Phillies are not hitting. The losses are mounting. Their third straight defeat felt like so many before it. The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in more than half of their 37 games. Their record in those games is 4-17.

Rollins blasted a home run on the first pitch of the game. The Phillies would rather forget the rest of the night, if possible. Their little mistakes were again accentuated because the offense was comatose. They made baserunning gaffes. The fielding was circumspect. The bullpen was porous.

It all wasted a solid season debut from Tyler Cloyd, who was promptly sent to triple A after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. The Phillies do not need a fifth starter again until May 21 and will go with an extra arm, Justin De Fratus, in the bullpen.

The game turned in the seventh. Cloyd was allowed to bat in the top half of the inning. He retired the first batter before Cody Ross singled. Manuel removed Cloyd for Antonio Bastardo. Jason Kubel flied deep to center. Ross tagged from first base on Ben Revere's weak throw. That allowed him to score on Martin Prado's single to right.

Phillies' relievers are the worst in baseball, allowing 49 percent of inherited runners to score. Prado hit the eighth pitch Bastardo threw for a single to right.

"He hit a good pitch," Bastardo said. "He made an adjustment."

Manuel could have ordered Bastardo to walk Prado and face Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero, a lefty hitting .198 coming into the game. Instead, they pitched to Prado.

"We tried to see if we could get him to swing at a bad ball down," Manuel said. "[Prado] would become the lead run, a double in this yard can score him."

An inning later, after Prado was picked off, Montero had his chance. It came against Mike Adams because Manuel wanted "our eighth-inning guy" pitching. Montero blasted a hanging change-up for the decisive home run. It was the third homer allowed by Adams in 15 innings. Opponents hit four in 52 1/3 innings last season.

The sloppiness started immediately after Rollins' leadoff homer. Chase Utley pelted one to deep center. He hesitated rounding second base but dashed for third anyway. A strong throw by Gerardo Parra eliminated him. That cost the Phillies a run because a walk and two singles followed.

Ian Kennedy lugged a 5.19 ERA into Friday. He went unscathed after the shaky first inning.

"I thought we were going to score more off of him," Manuel said. "He's been off to a slow start. He's given up some runs. I thought if we stayed after him, we'd get him. But he beared down and held us."

Cloyd held, too. His first four pitches were balls - an inauspicious start. Eric Chavez lined a two-out double to right that scored a Diamondbacks run. He threw Arizona a steady diet of fastballs; his first 17 pitches were four-seamers or cutters ranging from 84 to 89 m.p.h. After that Chavez double, Arizona went five innings without another hit. Ross flared one to left in the seventh, and that marked the end of Cloyd's night and the start of chaos.


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

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