Despite Loss to Twins, Philles Headed in Right Direction

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Despite Loss to Twins, Philles Headed in Right Direction

The Phillies lost one of the most up-and-down games I've ever seen to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 13-10, but there were a lot of positives to take from the game.

For starters, the Phils scored 10 runs -- something they haven't been doing a whole lot of recently as they fight to fully escape their offensive funk. It's still too soon to proclaim it over, but with 14 hits and a double-digit run total, they're certainly making strides.

They also did all that without Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz -- both of whom are expected back in the lineup sometime in the middle of next week.

And to keep with the recent trend, the starting pitcher looked very good for the most part. Cole Hamels had a difficult start to the game, allowing three runs in the first inning, but he turned it around and allowed only one more run in the next six innings he pitched.

Overall, Hamels finished with seven innings pitched, five hits, four runs, three earned, walked two, struck out seven, allowed one homerun, and had one error.

Chase Utley was the star of the game on offense going 3-5 with three RBIs and a couple extra-base hits. Utley, like the rest of the offense, appears set to pull out his funk once and for all and make a push in the latter portion of the season.

Any negatives there were to find with this team came from the bullpen.

The Phillies were leading 9-4 heading into the ninth inning after seven very good innings from Hamels and a great eighth inning by J.C. Romero, but a combination of Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge gave the game away.

Contreras walked a man, allowed a base hit which turned into a run, and then gave up a pinch-hit homerun to Jim Thome to make the game 9-7. With no outs, he was replaced by Lidge who, after getting two outs, gave up a homerun to Joe Mauer with a man on base to tie the game at nine heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The wheels fell off from there as Chad Durbin and Danny Baez took their turns messing things and eventually losing the game, even after Ross Gload brought the Phillies back with a pinch-hit homerun in the 10th to tie the game at 10.

So, for once this season, it wasn't the offense getting knocked around. But the play of the bullpen is more than alarming. If they don't pick it up tomorrow, we could see a bit of a shake-up from Charlie Manuel in that 'pen.

Losing a game they should have won is certainly going to hurt, but if they can rebound and beat the Twins in the finale to take the series, they should be able to get on a roll as they'll have six more consecutive home games, three of which come against the cupcake Cleveland Indians.

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