Beerleaguer: Phillies finish the homestand 3-4 including splits against the Pirates, Cubs and a series loss to the Red Sox, their first series defeat since San Francisco. For all intents and purposes, the Phils were blanked for a second-straight game; all three runs yesterday came during a garbage ninth. At risk of making a sweeping generalization, they need Jimmy Rollins back; they've reached a point in the season where they need their best nine producers on the field, a luxury they've had in only a handful of games. The inconsistency will continue until he returns.
And equally upsetting, for a second time on the homestand, Roy Halladay takes the loss. Unlike his nine-inning, 132-pitch marathon to the Pirates, Halladay truly failed to put the Phillies in an adequate position to win, perhaps for the first time in red pinstripes, allowing seven runs, six earned, on six hits and two walks while striking out only one, the fewest strikeouts in an outing since 2006, leading everyone to wonder if Tuesday's high pitch count affected him. Afterward, Halladay and Phillies' skipper Charlie Manuel adamantly denied it. Halladay leads baseball in innings and pitches thrown, but he's no stranger to adding miles to the odometer. Still, sometimes results don't lie, not only the low strikeout total, but the fact that Boston was banging out hit after hit on pitches that appeared to be off the mark.Count me among those who cringed when the Boston placed overrated right-hander Josh Beckett on the DL and replaced him with Wakefield. At this point in his career, Beckett, who's being hit at a .305 clip this season, is ripe for the picking, especially for a team like the Phillies. More than anything, the Phils want to feast on a hard fastball, so it's no surprise that a guy like Wakefield, who has spent all but two of his 18 years in the American League, gave them fits (I've often thought that Jamie Moyer would do the same).
That brings us to Greg Dobbs. Playing in place of Placido Polanco, Dobbs let a potential twin killing go through the wickets, leading to two runs. He also went 0-for-4. Dobbs isn't getting much playing time, but he's getting some, and he's fallen on his face in nearly all his opportunities. Truth be told, there hasn't been enough upside to his bat since 2008 to justify a spot in the starting lineup, and frankly, he hasn't done enough as a pinch hitter, either. Dobbs should be looking over his shoulder.
Back later to dissect some of the swirling pitching rumors.
Book signing: Co-author Mike McNesby and I will sign copies of our book "Hard to Believe" starting at 5 p.m. tonight during the Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. All book proceeds are split between the Phillies fight against ALS and the American Cancer Society. Tickets are sold out, but donations can be made here.