Sep 9, 2009, 6:42 PM EDT
It's hard to think that after being swept by the Astros, the Phillies' road trip could get much worse. A look at the schedule showing three nights at Natty Park was a signal that it was either going to (A) level out with some fire power and great pitching, or (B) in fact, get a whole lot worse. Heading into the closing frames of last night's opener, there were some signs that the Phils could be coming out of it. They were still relying a bit too much on the long ball, but when Raul is leading the homer parade after his rough second half, it can't be a bad thing. But then the ninth rolled around, and we got to view our greatest fears.
We don't need to relive all that, but fortunately, it was like a bad dream. Agonizing, but in the end, free of actual consequence. Like most dreams though, there was a message, a foreboding truth: this team currently has no closer.
Earlier today, we asked you all what you'd do if you were in Charlie Manuel's shoes and a save opp arose tonight. Chances are, Chollie still isn't sure, and I don't blame him. But with Cliff Lee on the mound for the Phils and Garrett Mock for the Nationals, we'd better be winning come the ninth, save opp or not.
Mock has been knocked around quite a bit in his 23 appearances (10 starts) this season, yielding 80 hits and 29 walks in just 62.1 innings. Like the submissive once said, that's a helluva painful WHIP, son. He's particularly been battered by lefties, although righties haven't been shy against him either.
Lee, meanwhile, has been proven human in his last two starts, but Phillies fans don't seem to have lost much if any faith in the new ace. There was no way he was going to keep up the pace he set in his first month with the team. Hopefully that's out of his system though, and he can get back to being the steady, top-of-the-rotation guy he's been for the past two years. A third consecutive 6 ER performance, this time against the Nationals, a night after Brad Lidge's… You get the point.
We need a win tonight.
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