By STEVE WILDMAN
Roy Halladay couldn't carry the Phillies offense Tuesday night in their 9-0 loss to the Brewers (Courtesy AP)
If there’s a bright side to the 2011 Phillies doing their best impression of the 2010 team’s painful offensive struggles, it’s that the starting pitching has the ability to carry the team through these types of stretches. Unfortunately, Roy Halladay’s shoulders weren’t broad enough for his teammates in Tuesday night’s 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Halladay (2-1) didn’t look sharp from the start, giving up two hits in the top of the 1st inning. He was able to escape a jam with runners on first and second base with one out due to Brewers’ center fielder Carlos Gomez inexplicably getting caught stealing third. The struggles continued for Doc in the top of the 2nd, allowing a two out double to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, followed by an RBI single by catcher George Kottaras, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. After left fielder Ryan Braun hit a solo homer in the top of the 3rd, Halladay settled down to retire six straight batters through the 4th and 5th innings. He ran into some more trouble in the top of the 6th, walking Braun to lead off the inning and giving up a single to first baseman Prince Fielder. With runners on first and second base, right fielder Mark Kotsay singled to right, scoring Braun.
Doc’s night came to a close in the top of the 7th, after giving up an RBI single to Fielder with two men on and two outs. Reliever David Herndon came in to try to close out the inning, but, as possibly expected, promptly gave up a three run home run to third baseman Casey McGehee over the left field flower beds. The Brewers sent eleven batters to the plate in the 7th, scoring six runs, and came out with a 9-0 lead.
Halladay had his ugliest start of the year, lasting 6.2 innings while giving up six runs on 10 hits and walking two. He struck out only three.
Former Phillie Randy Wolf (2-2) started for the Brewers and kept the home team off-balance all night with his breaking and off-speed pitches. Wolf allowed only two hits and struck out five over six innings of work.
The Phillies had their chances on two separate occasions, however both were with two outs. In the bottom of the 1st, Raul Ibanez flied out to left with Jimmy Rollins on second and Ryan Howard on first to end the inning. In the bottom of the 3rd, Howard grounded out with Shane Victorino on third and Placido Polanco on second.
The Brewers staff retired 15 batters in a row at one point before Raul Ibanez drew a walk in the bottom of the 9th inning, and held them hitless after the 3rd inning.
With the shut out tonight, the Phillies haven’t scored more than four runs in eight straight games, dating back to their 10-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on April 9th.
Teams go through offensive slumps over a 162 game baseball season. What’s troubling about their current slump is the ghost of the 2010 team that was notorious for slumbering bats for long stretches last year. Let’s all hope hittin’ season, as Charlie Manuel says, comes a little early this year.
Notes: The Phillies’ team home run total of eleven places them 22nd in the majors, and 11th in the National League; the nine runs given up by the Phillies staff tonight is their season worst