Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Phillies' bullpen crushed in 10th inning

PHILADELPHIA - The Mets would like to propose a trade: Citizens Bank Park for Citi Field -- and they won't even make the Phillies take Bernie Madoff in the deal.
New York has spent most of the past two months watching the playoff aspirations it had when it was seven games over .500 and 2 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East June 30 evaporate.
In July the Mets' pitching betrayed it. In August the offense has been so woeful that a day-to-day list of their runs scored reads like binary code.
However, there has been one place where the Mets have found sanctuary this season, and that is in Philadelphia.
For the sixth time in seven games at CBP, the Mets' bats sprung to life. The big burst came in the top of the 10th when they lit up B.J. Rosenberg for four runs -- the last two on a two-run bomb by Kelly Shoppach -- as New York roared to a 9-5 win Tuesday night.
This from a team that had scored just 15 runs in its previous eight games, the last seven of which had been in their spacious money pit in Queens.
In South Philly, however, the Mets have been anything but impotent. In their six wins over the Phils at CBP, New York has racked up 41 runs.
The extra-inning antics were a stark contrast to what happened in the opening inning.
Before Mets starter Chris Young record so much as an out, the Phillies had four runs.
Those came on Ryan Howard's grand slam to center field, his ninth homer of the season.
Most nights that four-spot would be something the starting pitcher likely could protect.
But the Phillies were on their weakest link, and Vance Worley continued to buckle.
While Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick have gotten their acts together, and Cole Hamels continues to have his act together, the one member of the rotation who has become a bloated dead weight putting drag on the Phillies as they slowly gain momentum and prepare for next season is Worley.
Worley, who went 4-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts during the season's first three months, has been in a persistent tailspin. Maybe it can be attributed to the loose bodies in his elbow that eventually will require surgery. But if that's the case, then perhaps it's time to get him to the surgeon.
Worley had to be yanked in the fifth inning after just 60 pitches, as New York was able to erase the 4-1 lead Howard gave the right-hander. Chase Utley would get that lead back with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, but the Phils still have a hard time trusting their bullpen with a one-run lead for too long.
Sure enough, Ryan Lindblom gave up a leadoff walk in the eighth. He handed the set-up work to Antonio Bastardo, who was burned by a one-handed swing by Shoppach, who slung a game-tying single to left. After using Jonathon Papelbon to hold serve in the ninth, Charlie Manuel watched Rosenberg serve up a four-spot in the 10th.
In a couple of days the rosters expand and at least a couple more minor-league players will trickle into the Phillies' clubhouse. One of them might well be Tyler Cloyd, who has gone 15-1 between Double- and Triple-A this season and Tuesday was named the International League MVP for going 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
He would seem to be a solid option for replacing Worley -- if the Phillies ever decide enough is enough.
* * *
Juan Pierre replaced Domonic Brown in left field in the top of the 10th inning, a move that didn't come as part of a double-switch, a move that hinted Brown's sore left knee had acted up, although no formal injury announcement was made during the game.


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