Apr 19, 2012, 4:32 PM EDT
In what is becoming a concerning trend, Wednesday night’s loss to the Giants was already the third time this season the Phillies entered the ninth inning of a game or later with a tie score, and failed to pull out a win. What’s worse is it seems they might not be built to win these tight games, the type they’ll be seeing plenty of as long as they have one of the least productive offenses in Major League Baseball.
The Phillies have needed extra innings twice already, and both times they had solid opportunities to take a lead, but were unable to capitalize.
In game two of the opening series in Pittsburgh, a 2-1 loss in 10 innings, the Phils had a runner in scoring position in the final two frames. In the top of the ninth, Hunter Pence was on second with one out, but Jim Thome and Freddy Galvis each struck out, ending the threat. In the tenth, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins each hit two-out singles, but Pence went down swinging to kill the late rally.
That situation mirrors what happened in last night’ 1-0 debacle, when Carlos Ruiz led off the top of the 11th with a double, and Galvis sacrificed him over to third with the first out. Thome struck out yet again, and John Mayberry grounded out weakly in their final two at bats.
It hasn’t all been on the offense though. Phillies relievers have been unable to hold the winning run at bay to give the bats more chances. Joe Blanton, David Herndon, and now Antonio Bastardo have all delivered walk-off base hits, none of them while pitching in a save situation.
The Phillies also lost game three in Pittsburgh 5-4 when the bullpen failed to hang on to a three-run lead. Michael Stutes allowed a pair unearned runs in an extended seventh inning after Ty Wigginton dropped a throw to first, then Bastardo gave up a run in the next frame to knot the score. That set up Herndon to cough up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Putrid offense. Bullpen issues. No clear-cut solutions for either. It’s gonna be hard to pull out these close games, which make up 25% of their season so far.
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