Despite pitching an amazing 10 shutout innings, the Phillies wound up losing in the 11th when Antonio Bastardo allowed the winning run to cross the plate. A terrible error from Ty Wigginton helped matters by allowing the Giants to stay alive. This is the second time this season that Lee has allowed one or fewer runs. The Phillies lost both of those games.
As a Phillies fan, I think it is time for the big three pitchers to get used to things like that. I just hope they keep their heads up throughout the season.
The offense is what it is for the Phillies. They will score runs in some games, but they will barely get runners on base in others. At the end of the day, the offense is just inconsistent. The pitchers can't count on runs from this team and that is a problem. Cole Hamels is used to this trend. Despite being dominant on the mound over the last two seasons, Hamels doesn't have a whole lot of wins because the Phillies don't seem to score for him. In two starts already this season, Lee is starting to feel that pain. That has to weigh heavily on the aces.
The big three pitchers know that they pretty much have to be perfect when they take the mound. That adds a lot of pressure that they shouldn't have to worry about. It's a long season and that kind of mental strain might wear on the pitchers. I can only hope they continue to handle it. So far all three have done a great job of not letting the offensive woes frustrate them, at least in public. But if this kind of trend continues, that might become harder and harder. Since scoring four runs in the top of the first inning against the Giants in the series opener, they have totaled just three runs in the 28 innings since.
For the Phillies to maximize their pitchers, Charlie Manuel has to make sure he doesn't put too much pressure on them. He can't pile on innings in hopes that the bats might wake up late in a game. It is only April, and it already feels like the big three are doing too much. No one wants to see these guys burn out. It would be great if the bats could give them an easy outing here and there, but we can't count on that. All we can hope for is that the manager and the pitchers find ways to limit the stress of carrying the team.* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Phillies fan.
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