The Phillies have struggled to start the season as they sit at 9-8 and are second in the division behind the Florida Marlins. The starting rotation has been a weak spot and they lead the league in home runs allowed.
After the team won the series opener on Monday the 13th after learning of the death of Harry Kalas, they were off for the next two days because of a scheduled off-day and a rainout. The offense struggled in the series finale and Joe Blanton gave up early runs. The bullpen was bad late in the game and the Phils dropped the game 8-2. It was the first loss for Blanton since being acquired last July.
The team returned home for a four game series with the San Diego Padres. In the opener on Friday, the team had many special tributes to Kalas including dedicating the television broadcast booth to him. The team jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning and eventually a 7-1 lead. Chase Utley hit his second homer in that first inning. The Padres crept back into the game and made it 7-5 heading into the eighth inning. Ryan Madson struggled and gave up three runs and Greg Dobbs was thrown out at the plate late in the game in the 8-7 loss. Cole Hamels was better but not great in the loss.
On Saturday afternoon before the night game, the team held a public viewing and memorial for Harry Kalas. Many former Phillies were in attendance and many spoke in a very nice tribute. The private funeral was held later in the week.
In the game, Brett Myers pitched pretty well and gave the team a chance to win. The game was pretty close and tied until the eighth inning. In the top half of the inning, the Padres got another run off Madson. In the bottom half, Chase Utley tied the game and gave the Phils the lead with one swing of the bat. However, Mr. Automatic, Brad Lidge managed to blow his first save as a Phillie and gave up four runs in the 9th and the Phillies dropped the game 8-5. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez also homered.
On Sunday, Chan Ho Park took to the mound and pitched okay but the Phils found themselves down 4-0 after five innings. In the 6th, Chase Utley made it a two-run game with a homer. Jimmy Rollins hit a pinch-hit homer in the 8th. The new guy, Raul Ibanez, came through in the 9th and hit a walk-off two run homer. The final score was 5-4. The series finale was rained out.
The game on Tuesday against Milwaukee was a high-scoring game that involved a really long rain delay. Jamie Moyer took to the mound. After the first inning the Phillies had a 4-1 lead. They blew open the game and had an 11-3 lead after the sixth inning. There was a 1:18 rain delay in the 7th. The Brewers added another run and lost 11-4. Pedro Feliz homered in the game.
Ironically, the offense completely shutdown on a windy Wednesday night against the Brewers. Joe Blanton pitched very well and was the tough-luck loser. Jayson Werth broke the shutout with a solo homer to deep center in the 9th. The final score was 3-1.
Cole Hamels looked like he returned to his old self as he struck out 6 in over three innings. He gave up 2 runs but left in the fourth after being hit in the shoulder by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder. The Brewers scored three more runs in the 5th. The Phillies were no hit until there was one out in the 8th inning. Matt Stairs hit a pinch-hit home run. They eventually lost the game 6-1 as they headed to Florida for the weekend.
In the 1st inning on Friday, Brett Myers gave up three runs on a homer and the offense did not get started at all. Until the 9th inning. They put up seven runs on the Marlins closer including a grand slam by Shane Victorino. Chase Utley also homered. The final score was 7-3.
On Saturday it was more of the same in a way. Chan Ho Park, starting pitcher, started the offense with a home run in the third. Ryan Howard homered in the 4th. The Marlins came back and led the game 4-3 going into the ninth. The Phils came back again and forced extra innings. They won it with two in the 10th. Brad Lidge recorded his first save since his first blown save.
On Sunday, the team finally got their first win without having to come back. The game was a blowout but they only lead 4-1 after the fifth inning. Jamie Moyer turned in a fantastic pitching performance. In the 7th and 8th, the Phillies batted around and combined to score nine runs. They won the game 13-2. A Marlins outfielder pitched the ninth inning.
The team returns home on Monday for a three game series against the Nationals. The Mets will be here on the weekend.
You can contact Colin Fry at email@example.com