Heading to the 9th inning Saturday afternoon, Phillies fans had to seem confident that the team had finally turned the corner. The Phils had a five run lead, nine runs on the scoreboard and a chance to go for a series sweep on Sunday with Halladay on the hill. In the blink of an eye however, that all changed as the Phillies blew a five run lead in the 9th at home for the first time since April 20, 1961.
Sunday, Carl Pavano kept the Phillies at bay, tossing a complete game four-hitter. Yesterday's loss dropped Roy Halladay to 8-6 on the season. In those six losses, the Phillies offense has scored just nine runs total. "When you go eight innings and give up three earned runs, I'd call that a quality start" said skipper Charlie Manuel. "You can with with that kind of pitching."
Today, the two-time NL Champs find themselves five-and-a-half games behind the Braves in the NL East. Is it time to panic or do something drastic? Maybe it's the eternal optimist in me, but I still think the best is yet to come for the 2010 Phils. Jimmy Rollins is back in Philadelphia and should return to the Phillies line-up, possibly as early as tomorrow. Rollins has played in just 11 of the team's 67 games, missing the majority of the season with a right calf injury. With Jimmy's return, the Phillies will have to make a tough roster move. Wilson Valdez has been a double-play machine this season, however, he's filled in admirably in the field and has gotten some big hits as of late. Juan Castro has just two hits in his last 20 at bats, and hasn't started since last Tuesday in New York.
Over their next 13 games, the Phillies will play four teams (Indians, Blue Jays, Reds, Pirates) with a combined 126-151 record. Despite the recent struggles, the Phillies clubhouse is still relatively upbeat. "There's been a lot of positives this week" said Roy Halladay. "We just have to forget about the tough ones and keep moving forward." A three game series against the last place Indians could be just what the doctor ordered (no pun intended).