The Phillies completed a 1-8 interleague homestand, polishing off their second consecutive sweep, with a 2-1 loss to the Orioles, on Sunday. The Phils overcame an early 1-0 lead, riding a four-hit attack to their sixth loss in a row. Cole Hamels was discredited with the loss, his third in seven decisions, but he had plenty of support in the losing effort.
Hamels pitched eight innings, allowing a pair of runs, on nine hits. He struck out ten, and did not walk a batter, but nineteen of the twenty-nine batters he faced put balls in play. Not a very impressive ratio from a supposed "ace." Hamels' performance was zero-dimensional, as he failed to reach base in either of his plate appearances. His ineptitude at the plate necessitated his eventual removal for a pinch-hitter, forcing the Phils' bullpen to cover the final inning. Perhaps some more work with batting coach Milt Thompson, or a stint in Lehigh Valley (AAA), would help Hamels become more of a complete player.
Leadoff man Jimmy Rollins did his job, lulling the Orioles' pitchers into a sense of complacency, with another hitless effort. Rollins was able to induce outs in all thirteen of his plate appearances over the weekend, but his teammates were unable to capitalize. Rollins has failed to reach base at a .761 clip in June, numbers that would have been impressive even in the Deadball Era. The shortstop almost reached base in the eighth inning, but was the beneficiary of a gracious call by Umpire Larry Vanover, who called Rollins out, despite the infielder's inability to get himself tagged on the play.
Manager Charlie Manuel didn't offer Rollins much support either, making several questionable personnel decisions. Ryan Howard was given the day off, ending his consecutive games played streak at 343, despite having a temperature of only 103.9 degrees. Paul Bako, a career .231 hitter, was left on the bench. (Fortunately, Carlos Ruiz put together a Bako-esque 0 for 3 effort.) Eric Bruntlett, batting a lusty .157 in 2009, also failed to appear. Greg Dobbs (1.062 OPS in June), inexplicably, got the start at 1B, homering for the Phils' run. Dobbs was replaced with a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, but the damage had already been done.
The Phillies have Monday off, before traveling to Tampa Bay to face Pat Burrell and the Rays. Jamie Moyer will bring his 6.35 ERA (1.54 WHIP) to the mound. Moyer has an 8-4 record, and a 2.85 lifetime ERA against Tampa, but those gaudy stats were accumulated way back when Moyer was good, and the Devil Rays were not. With David Price on the mound for the opposition, the Phils appear well-positioned to keep their winless streak alive.