The Phillies lost the first game of their three-game series in Atlanta, 5-4, in ten innings. Starter Joe Blanton was mediocre, allowing three runs (eight hits, three walks/three strikeouts, ninety-three pitches), as the Phils fell behind, 3-2. Pinch-hitter John Mayberry and 3B Pedro Feliz (three hits) hit back-to-back homers in the eighth, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. But setup man Ryan Madson combined shoddy fielding, and poor pitching (two walks, one hit), to allow a game-tying, unearned run. Chan Ho Park gave up the game-winning run to the Braves, acquiring two outs in the tenth, but three hits, which proved to be one too many.
Blanton, Madson, and Park certainly did enough to be blamed for the loss. Jimmy Rollins (0 for 5), Jayson Werth (0 for 4, error), and Carlos Ruiz (0 for 4, 6 LOB) also contributed heavily to the losing effort. However, Gabor Paul Bako II, also deserves a large portion of the pie of accountability. Charlie Manuel inserted Bako into the game, after burning backup C Chris Coste as a sixth-inning pinch-hitter, as part of a double-switch. This move put the pitcher in the eighth spot in the lineup, Bako in the ninth spot, and starting catcher Carlos Ruiz on the bench. This move was actually designed so that Bako would be allowed to bat. Given the veteran catcher's dexterity with the bat, the Phils might have been better-served by keeping Ruiz in the game, and allowing a pitcher to bat. Bako was retired in his only AB, and his questionable pitch-calling in the tenth was a huge factor in the defeat. With two outs, two strikes, the winning run on base, and a base open, Bako calling for a Park fastball lead, immediately,to the Phils' loss. IN. EXPLICABLE.
The Phillies try to start another nine-game Turner Field winning streak Wednesday night, with ace Cole Hamels on the mound. I'm predicting that JIMMY ROLLINS WILL GET A HIT IN THE GAME!