Last year, the Phillies’ didn’t have a reliable arm in the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning. Mike Adams has filled that role nicely this year overall, except for last night. Aside from the Phils’ bullpen’s less-than-stellar performance, here are a couple of other observations from last night’s game. Click on the attached images for larger versions of last night’s scorecard.
- Halladay had trouble finding the strike zone early. The Bucs’ lead-off hitter Starling Marte worked the count full and walked on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. The next two hitters, Travis Snider and Andrew McCutchen, worked the count to 3 – 2 and both struck out looking. In my opinion, the last pitch of the at-bat to McCutchen was considerably off the plate but Doc got the call anyway. On his 25th pitch of the first inning, Halladay got the next hitter, Garrett Jones, looking on a 1 – 2 breaking ball on the inside corner for the final out.
- I give Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel a hard time when it comes to making the right personnel moves. Last night, though, he made a good move on a tough call. The Phils were down by two in the bottom of the ninth inning with 8, 9, and 1 in the order due up. Laynce Nix was batting for catcher Humberto Quintero. During Nix’s at-bat, the TV broadcasters were speculating that Erik Kratz would come off the bench and pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot. Initially, I didn’t think anything of it like, ‘Okay, why not? He’s got power and we need some runs.’ Then I thought, ‘Wait, we’re down by two. We don’t need a slugger, we need someone to get on base so the tying run can come to the plate.’ Nix subsequently flied out to right field (as you can see from the attached Phils’ scorecard). Before I could lament Charlie’s decision to try for the long ball and send ‘Kratzie’ up in this situation, I saw utility outfielder Ezequiel Carrera walking in from the on-deck circle. Carrera has a better career on-base percentage (.307) than Kratz (.266). As it turned out, Carrera was hit by a pitch. The inning had promise until Jimmy Rollins fouled out to the catcher and Chase Utley struck out swinging. The Phils lost this game, but not because Charlie Manual was thinking on-base percentage over slugging percentage.
The Pirates lead the series 2 games to 1, and the two teams will square off this afternoon in a businessperson’s special at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is at 1:10.
Aside from a lackluster performance from the Phils’ bullpen last night, what stood out most for you? Leave a comment below.