If the Phillies could get a hang of this interleague play thing, they could have the NL East division title wrapped up in August the past few years.
After a promising start to this weekend’s opening interleague series vs. the Boston Red Sox on Friday night (5-1 win), the Phillies dropped to last two games by a combined score of 13-3. While last night’s game was disappointing, with Matsusaka almost no-hitting the Phillies, today’s 8-3 drubbing was especially painful to watch. Roy Halladay (6-3) took the loss after giving up seven runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
It was Halladay’s second loss in a row, after his complete game loss the the Pirates last week. It looked all day as if Halladay didn’t have his best stuff, and you can already hear the grumblings across the Delaware Valley wondering if he’s being overworked too early in the season. His line today doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Halladay seemed to be in control after a 1-2-3 first inning, and giving up one run in the second. In the top of the 4th, Halladay coaxed Adrian Beltre into what seemed to be a routine double play ball to Greg Dobbs, only to watch as the ball slipped through Dobb’s legs into left field to score 2 runs for the Sox to make it a 3-0 game. Roy then ran into trouble again in the 6th inning after giving up a solo homerun to Kevin Youkilis, and three more runs afterwards.
For Boston, Tim Wakefield (1-2( seemed un-hittable through his eight shutout innings. It was the second game in a row that the Phillies looked overmatched by two pitchers who had been lacking recent success. Before today, Wakefield hadn’t won a game since July of last season, and has been thrown into Boston’s rotation due to Josh Beckett being put on the DL.
One has to wonder if Jimmy Rollins going back on the DL has had a deflating effect on the squad. After returning from his first stint on the disabled list, J-Roll was put back on it after just five games due to straining the same calf on Friday night. Hopefully the team can snap out of their mini funk, because their next 9 games are against contending NL East teams on the road (at Mets, Marlins, and Braves).
Baseball purists tend to dislike interleague play because they feel it dilutes the differences between the AL and the NL, and is purely a way for the league to generate more revenue. One thing that is for sure is that it isn’t going away any time soon, so the Phillies would be wise to try to figure it out.