The Philadelphia Phillies haven't been as futile on offense as their recent reputation has made them look. Although Phillies fans like myself are more used to complaining about the offense in recent years, the pitching has done more to ruin Philadelphia this year. Yet games like the one on Aug. 28 against the New York Mets are a reminder of how quiet the bats can still get.
The Phillies did produce five runs and took the Mets into extra innings. However, Philadelphia got those runs on just two homers and had to foil New York scoring threats all night, until the bottom fell out in the 10'th inning of a 9-5 defeat.
The tone was set very early when Vance Worley gave up hits on his first three pitches, although he only yielded one run. It seemed to be balanced out when the Phillies got their first three men on - albeit on two walks and a hit batter - and then when Ryan Howard drove them all in on a grand slam. On that one hit, the Phillies took a 4-1 lead, yet a few more hits would have helped more.
Despite being handed that lead, Worley did not settle down. It was only a matter of time before Mike Baxter got the Mets back within 4-3 on a two-run blast in the forth. Then when New York tied it up in the fifth, Worley couldn't survive any longer -yet he was in line for the win when Chase Utley got a homer in the bottom of the fifth.
However, the Howard and Utley blasts remained the only offense for the Phillies all night. It came back to haunt them again in their most problematic inning - the eighth - as they failed to put Jonathan Papelbon in a save situation once more. A Kelly Shoppach double tied it up again, and with Papelbon shutting the Mets down in the ninth, the Phillies only had struggling B.J. Rosenberg to send out for the 10'th.
Four 10'th inning runs later, New York had an extra-inning win that probably didn't need to take so long. Aside from its two homers, Philadelphia only had four other hits the entire night - all of which were singles. Meanwhile, Worley was torched for nine hits in just over four innings, although the Phillies bullpen did much better afterwards, with just two exceptions. Unfortunately, those exceptions were Antonio Bastardo in the eighth and Rosenberg in the 10'th.
The Mets are one of the few teams in worse straits than the Phillies right now, as they have slumped down to fourth place, R.A. Dickey has cooled off and Johan Santana tanked after his no-hitter. There's no reason for Philadelphia not to take advantage - especially right after sweeping the Washington Nationals - yet the strength of just two home runs won't be enough to cut it.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.
Other stories from this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- the New York Mets