The Phillies defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 to earn a split of the four game series. Cole Hamels(1-1) notched the win, while Brad Lidge notched his first save as a Phillie in a white knuckle ninth inning. Bronson Arroyo took the loss for the Reds, allowing five earned runs in five and two thirds innings of work.
The Phillies scored early and often after Jimmy Rollins led off the game with his second homerun of the season to put the Phils up 1-0. After a double by Ryan Howard, Burrell followed with the first of two home runs on the day. This gave Hamels and the Phils a 3-0 lead before the left-hander ever took the mound, and would be all he would need.
The Phils didn’t score any runs for their ace left-hander in his season opening start against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night. Hamels came into the game with a 1.13 ERA on the strength of his first outing, and he gave the Phils another strong showing on getaway day in Cincinnati. Hamels allowed only two runs and five hits over his seven innings of work.
Pat Burrell and Geoff Jenkins hit back to back homeruns in the third inning to extend the Phils lead to 5-2, but that was the end of the Phils offense. Good teams tend to add on to leads as the game goes along to keep the other team from gaining momentum and thinking they have an opportunity to win late in the game. The Phillies had runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings with less than two outs, but were unable to plate any more runs against the Reds bullpen.
These missed opportunities loomed large in the bottom of the ninth after Lidge loaded the bases and put the tying run in scoring position with a wild pitch during his wild ninth inning. Had Lidge not held on, the Phillies offense would have had questions to answer about their hitting with runners in scoring position since that hitting well in those situations is a hallmark of good teams.
With the current bullpen situation, the Phillies offense needs to take advantage of their opportunities to tack on more runs against an opponent. This team can never be sure when those extra runs might be needed if one of their bullpen pitchers has a poor outing.