The Philadelphia Phillies loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates marks the eighth loss in their last nine games. There was no answer for Andrew McCutchen a day after he nearly hit for the cycle. McCutchen’s two-run home run in the first inning off David Buchanan (4-5, 4.82 ERA) was his 13th of the year. The third RBI came from Pittsburgh pitcher Edinson Volquez because, apparently, his seven innings pitched, with four hits, four walks, five strikeouts, and only one run allowed wasn’t enough. The Pirates closed it out with Tony Watson and Mark Melancon striking out three of the Phillies final six batters.
The first run scored by the Phillies came on a fourth inning home run from Cody Asche, his sixth. Marlon Byrd tried to make things interesting in the ninth inning by knocking in his 17th homer, but there was nothing going. The first four Phillies in the order – Ben Revere, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard – all collected a walk on the day, but it wasn’t enough as everyone from Utley to David Buchanan accounted for strikeout.
You’re going to think this sounds like a broken record, but another quality starting performance went wasted because of the bad showing at the plate tonight. Buchanan pitched six solid innings, giving up six hits, three earned, one walk and striking out three. Ken Giles and Antonio Bastardo combined to pitch a perfect seventh and eighth inning on only 21 pitches. Some of the much needed run support over the last two games could have come with runners in scoring position (a bold idea), but the Phillies continue to struggle in that department. They are a combined 1-7 so far in Pittsburgh and 5-27 since heading out on their road trip on July 1st.
Before the game, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. discussed several potential moves in the near future with minor league players to bolster the Phillies’ bench. Specifically, Darin Ruf taking swings in Florida on a rehab assignment and the likelihood that he’ll be activated either Sunday or Monday. When he was asked about the potential impact of the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s trade on the Phillies’ plans, he said it wouldn’t change his direction. Amaro continues to imply that the Phillies are assessing the players they have on the roster and potential trades to improve the existing team. Amaro might not have a team to improve next year if he doesn’t figure something out soon. Rollins, Cliff Lee, Roberto Hernandez, Marlon Byrd, and a host of other Phillies would help the rebuilding process. Amaro doesn’t want to blow things up…someone should tell him the fuse is already burning.
The Phillies will look to avoid the sweep Sunday at 1:35 PM ET when A.J. Burnett takes the mound against Jeff Locke. The Phillies won’t get another day off until the All Star break, as they open a four-game series in Milwaukee Monday before traveling back to Philly for three games against the Washington Nationals.Tags: Baseball, MLB, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies