The Phillies took the field Thursday evening, looking to tame Ryan Braun and a Brewers offense that is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous in the game, after being scorched for 19 runs in the first two games of a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers. Cliff Lee towed the rubber for the Phils tonight, looking to drastically drop the .355 average that opposing hitters had against him after his first two starts.
Scoring early hasn’t been a problem for the Phillies thus far, and it wasn’t again tonight. In the home half of the second, Marlon Byrd hit a laser deep into the left-field stands, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the second. It was Byrd’s second homerun thus far, as he seems to be re-assimilating to Philadelphia very well.
Lee was solid through the first-three innings, but hit a bump in the fourth inning, as an Aramis Ramirez double over the head of Ben Revere, allowed Ryan Braun to score to tie the game. Khris Davis, playing in left, drove Braun home later in that inning, to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
Lee would leave after six innings, allowing one more run, as Davis tacked on another RBI in the sixth inning. I think that it is safe to say that after getting hit around by the Rangers in his first start, allowing 10 hits in a shutout performance against the Cubs, and turning in a very mediocre performance against the Brewers, that Lee has been very underwhelming early on. It’s early, and I don’t expect Lee to end the season with the 5.50 ERA that he currently has. But so far, he hasn’t pitched like an ace.
Speaking of not pitching well, the Phillies lovely bullpen played a role in this game as well. Prior to that, the Phillies cut away at the Brewers 3-1 lead, but missed a chance to do more damage. After Ryan Howard took a walk to load up the bases, Byrd hit a deep grounder to third-base, that ended up going as an RBI infield-single. With a chance to really open things up and take the lead back, Dom Brown followed up Byrd’s RBI with a poor at-bat that culminated with fly-out to center, to end the inning.
Leaving the bases loaded came back to bite the Phillies almost immediately, as a rough seventh inning from Jeff Manship, with Carlos Ruiz partially at fault, put the game out of reach. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura drove home the first two runs of the inning, with Ryan Braun driving home the third run of the inning, and his tenth overall in the series. As much as we all wanted to believe Ryan Braun was going to come back from his suspension and suck without any PED assistance, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Braun is raking, and the Brewers as a team have come out of the gate hitting with a chip on their shoulder.
As for the Phillies, while they only scored two runs tonight, they haven’t been the painfully awful offensive team that a majority of us expected for them to be, so far. That isn’t to say that they won’t end up being that–frankly I’d be surprised if they don’t get to that point–but so far the offensehasn’t been the problem.
The fact that the Phillies don’t have one reliever who you can count on from a night to night basis, is scary. Mike Adams could come back and set-up like Flash Gordon on the 2000′s Yankees’ teams, and it still won’t matter if the rest of the bullpen doesn’t get their sh*t together. On most nights, they won’t even get to a set-up situation anyway, with the way things are going currently.
Anyways, the Phillies went on to lose 6-2, and get swept. Any idea that the Phillies were going to fix some early bullpen problems and surprise people in 2014, kind of evaporated with this series. Get used to watching that attendance go further and further down…..