The author of this column has a request:
Please don't even think about blaming Roy Halladay’s tough start against the Red Sox on his high pitch counts in previous games.
Don’t rip Roy. Don’t second-guess Charlie. Don’t go there.
But watching the Phillies get their butts kicked by Boston continues to be an annual interleague ritual.
For more on that, click here. It ain't pretty.
Sunday’s final score of 8-3 was misleading. It wasn’t that close. The Phillies were embarrassed, even with their three cosmetic, hollow ninth-inning runs.
Their play on Sunday (and Saturday, too) was totally disheartening, but not at all because of Mr. Halladay’s effort.
No, Roy wasn’t great against the Sox. Not even he can be every time. But his final pitching line in the box score is extremely misleading. The Phils ace deserved a much better fate.
A Kevin Youkilis second-inning triple set the stage for Boston’s first run. The ball was in center fielder Shane Victorino’s mitt as he flagged down the drive to deep center. Tough play for Shane, but a play he usually makes.
Two innings later, Adrian Beltre’s tailor-made double-play grounder with the bases loaded went right through third baseman Greg Dobbs’ legs, leading to two runs and a 3-0 Boston lead.
Halladay could have easily had a shutout through five innings had those plays been made. By the time the Sox tacked on four runs in the sixth to make it 7-0, it was obvious that things just weren’t meant to be…
Once again, the Phillies offense came up small behind their ace. In five of Halladay's 10 starts, the Phils have scored two runs or less with him on the mound. Four runs of support for Doc should be enough to win most every game. Philly has scored just a single run in its last 16 innings with Roy out there.
Halladay still has six wins this season, but he could easily have eight if only he got the same run support that teammate Jamie Moyer has received over his years in Philly.
Meanwhile, Boston starters Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield entered this weekend’s series with a combined two wins in 10 starts a 6.21 ERA during 2010.
Teams were teeing off these guys. Apparently not the Phillies.
Dike-K and Wake combined to shut out the Phils on six hits in 16 total innings.
Of course, the Phils offense just isn’t the same without Jimmy Rollins, replaced on the 15-day DL this Saturday. High-quality shortstops such as J-Roll are extremely rare, the main reason why the Phillies should make re-signing him a much higher priority than re-upping two-month legend Jayson Werth.
So far this season we’ve seen just how much the Phils miss Jimmy’s multi-faceted offense and steel trap-tight defense.
But injuries are part of the game. No excuses, the Phillies missed a great chance this weekend.
Boston came into the series at just 22-20, good for fourth place in the ultra-competitive AL East. The Phils wouldn’t be facing Boston’s two best starters (Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz) while the Sox would be facing the Phillies’ two best (Cole Hamels and Halladay). In the NL park, the Sox wouldn’t be able to use red-hot David Ortiz as a DH, while Boston’s bullpen had been worked extremely hard in its two-game Monday and Tuesday series at the Yankees.
The Phils even had tons of momentum after taking Friday’s series opener, 5-1, behind Cole Hamels’ awesome performance.
But old habits die hard. The Phils are now 5-16 against the Red Sox since 2004 and 11-25 overall in interleague play since 2008. Yeah, and the 2010 interleague play schedule resumes in just a few weeks. Gulp.
As always, the key as a fan is to keep each loss, and win, in perspective.
It’s hard for any fan not to be extremely pleased with the Phillies current 26-17 record, and come July, maybe their lineup and pitching staff will be back to almost full strength.
The New York Mets will continue to whine about their injuries (as always) while the Phillies will continue to win despite their own.
Of course, these Phillies always get better as October inches closer.
In case the author wasn’t clear enough, the answer to the headline question is a resounding NO.
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