It didn’t look promising on paper coming into tonight in St. Louis, with the Phillies’ bats asleep and Chris Carpenter pitching for the Cardinals against Jamie Moyer. It would only get worse from there.
After a shaky, but scoreless first inning, it looked as though Moyer may not have his best stuff on this night. Well, it didn’t matter all that much anyway because Jamie left the ballgame after the finishing the bottom of the first with what’s being called an elbow strain by the medical staff. So with their starter on the fritz, you could hear the moans and groans all the way from Delaware Valley as Charlie Manuel was forced to go to his bullpen in the bottom of the second inning.
With little to no options, Manuel was forced to call upon recently recalled reliever Andrew Carpenter to eat up some innings. After pitching a scoreless second, Carpenter gave up a single to Felipe Lopez, and then promptly served up a two-run homer to Randy Winn to make it a 2-0 ballgame in the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the fourth, Yadier Molina doubled and pitcher Chris Carpenter singled to give the Cardinals runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. Molina was able to score soon after due to a wild pitch thrown by Carpenter.
Just when Phillies fans were able to settle their stomachs, Danys Baez came out of the bullpen to relieve Carpenter for the bottom of the 5th. After issuing walks to Winn and Albert Pujols, Baez didn’t disappoint by giving up his signature three-run homer to Matt Holliday for a 6-0 St. Louis lead after five frames. The Cards would add another run in the bottom of the 8th off of Ryan Madson.
It would be nice to be able to talk about a bright spot for the Phillies (i.e. their offense), but if you think that’s coming, you didn’t watch the game.
Chris Carpenter proved too overpowering for a Phillies lineup that lacks any sort of life, discipline, or excitement. Carpenter (the good one) threw eight innings of five-hit ball while only giving up one run. The Phillies’ lone run came in the top of the 7th on consecutive doubles by Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino.
It’s been a long three months since the last time you could feel good about this lineup. Sure, they stayed in first place for a while, but deep down it’s been obvious that something is missing from this team. Whether it be injuries, a World Series loss the Yankees hangover, or other factors, this team hasn’t been itself since May. And with the Atlanta Braves win over the Padres tonight, the Phils sit 7 games back in the NL East standings.
In less depressing news, J.A. Happ seems to be poised to rejoin the squad later this week. Reports are that he was throwing in the low 90s during his latest minor-league start, which is encouraging because the reason he wasn’t called up a lot earlier was reportedly his lack of velocity. Happ was pulled early from his start tonight, which usually signifies a call up from the minors. Also, Kyle Kendrick was designated for assignment today, however, with Jamie Moyer’s immediate future in doubt, he could be back with the big club sooner than management desired.