Friday, October 24, 2008

Phils Are Offensive

When Eric Bruntlett is providing the power, and you wish out loud that pitcher Brett Myers be allowed to hit to help spark your offense, things are going bad.

The Phils offense sputtered yet again, failing to drive in runners in scoring position at a horrific rate, as Tampa Bay evened the World Series with a 4-2 win.

1-28 with runners in scoring position? And that hit didn't even bring in a run! Plus, they are 0-7 with 5 strikeouts with runners at 3rd and less than two outs.

It's been painful to watch. Even the night they won.

The whole time watching game one, I was pleased they were able to grab an early lead -- and hang onto it -- but as each missed opportunity passed by, my frustration level grew. If the bats were going to stay silent, it was either going to cost them in game one (it didn't), or later in the series (it did).

As important as getting the win in the opener was, last night's game was equally important.

Had the Phils found a way to, oh I don't know, score a run here or there, put some pressure on the Rays, and squeak out a game two win, the series would likely be over.

Now, it's 1-1, and although the Phillies have gained home field advantage with the split, in order to win the series at home they have to win three straight games.

It's likely that will go out the window Saturday night, when ALCS MVP Matt Garza takes on ancient Jamie Moyer. Moyer's arguably been the Phils' most consistent starting pitcher all year long, but he has been awful in two postseason starts.

Granted, those two starts were on the road, and maybe pitching in front of the home town fans will make a bit of a difference -- hopefully for the offense, too -- but, odds are, the Rays will take game three, and retake control in the series.

But, that's the beauty of baseball. Things change quickly. Home cooking could help turn things around. Playing in front of the rabid Philly fans could be a bit of a remedy.

Maybe a shakeup in the lineup will help, or a voodoo ritual in the clubhouse. Maybe they can ask the White Sox for some advice on how to bust out of a slump.

So, Saturday night becomes the next "most important game in the series." If the Phils can find a way to beat Garza and take a 2-1 lead, it will be huge, knowing that Cole Hamels has one more game to pitch Monday.

If not, it's going to start feeling a whole lot like 1983 again.

That year, the Phils played the Orioles in the World Series. Philly squeaked out a 2-1 win in game one in Baltimore. They lost game two 4-1, mustering just three hits.

The next three games in Philadelphia were miserable for the Phils, as they scored just six runs in those games, and were swept at home, losing the series in five games.

Uh oh. Must...stop...negative...feelings.

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