April 25, 2005

Phils-Braves series wrap

No killer instinct: After Mike Hampton and Tim Hudson silenced Phillies hitters Friday and Saturday, the left-handed thumpers couldn’t generate a run against RHP John Thomson, as the Braves complete their series sweep Sunday. (AP Photo)

Really painful
Hardly the big weekend attraction, the Phillies were even tougher to watch than the first round of the NFL Draft, the second-longest in NFL history.

The first two games of this series saw Mike Hampton do what he always does against the Phils, not allow hits to left-handed hitters and achieve total command. Tim Hudson followed it up with a solid outing but the game was no contest as the Braves jumped on Randy Wolf for five runs in the first and lit up Gavin Floyd in relief.

Even with Vicente Padilla on the hill, Sunday represented a favorable situation for the Phils to salvage a win. The Braves were in position to sit back up 2-0 in the series, allow Padilla make his mistakes, and glide through nine innings.

For the Phillies, the worst was over, having endured Hampton and Hudson, and with Thomson taking the hill - a guy many in the lineup have had success against and representing a significant drop in talent from the previous two - a certain burden should have been lifted from their shoulders.

Instead, they did nothing, and at no point did one get a sense the Phils had any shot at winning. Thomson didn’t have great stuff, racked up a high pitch count early, yet the offense never capitalized. The left-handed thumpers were especially listless, including three stikeouts from Jim Thome.

In each game this series, the Phillies got behind early and never fought back. There was no spark, no drive, nothing at all. The root cause is a sudden lack of power from a team built for the long ball, now tied for 24th in baseball with 15. This team isn't creative enough in its run production, so when they get down early and the big bats go cold, they're D-O-N-E done.

Three heads are better than two
As long as Atlanta and Florida stay healthy and continue getting quality starts from their top three guys – Smoltz, Hampton and Hudson, and Beckett, Burnett and Willis for the Fish – it’s going to make life extremely difficult for the Phils and the rest of the division to keep pace. Remember, history has shown that one team - Atlanta - will turn on the afterburners at the break.

Many thanks
Getting positive feedback on BPF is always a treat. Many thanks go out to Brian Peoples at the Philling Station for his awesome endorsement of the work I do here. He sent many new readers my way Sunday, typically a day BPF doesn't see much action. Here's what he had to say:

If you're looking for cutting edge baseball analysis, you're unlikely to find it from the mainstream press. Berks Phillies Fans runs circles around most outlets that cover the Phils, and is well worth a spot in your rolodex of favorites. J. Michael Weitzel has really stepped it up recently, so make it a daily read.

Brian's blog is an excellent Phils resource. Every headline, tidbit, rumor and quote that has people talking is reported and discussed. Keep up the great work, Brian!


At 5:47 PM, Blogger el123chico said...

phils need to get rid of padilla because he stinks. send him and his floatilla back to the bar for more drinks.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Tom G said...

I would agree with both Jason and Brian. Brian leaves no stone unturned on the Philling Station, and, Jason, you always seem to hit the nail on the head. Good stuff!


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