Handing off a lead to the Phillies’ bullpen is like letting Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov handle the puck. Ill-advised.
For the second consecutive night the Phillies’ bullpen took a lead into the seventh and lost it and the game. The Mets, who came back to win 10-6, swept the three-game series. This time Kyle Kendrick, who hit a batter with the bases loaded, earned the loss by giving up three runs during an ugly seventh. In an inning-plus, Kendrick gave up five runs, four doubles and issued two walks, in addition to the hit batsman.
“I had no command of anything,” Kendrick said. “I was behind in the count and then when I did [have command], everything was up. It just wasn’t good. You don’t want to get swept. We had the lead and I blew it. It’s tough.”
The Phillies’ atrocious bullpen gave up seven runs in two innings. Shane Victorino cost the Phillies a run by making a play that was as unsightly as Kendrick’s performance. Victorino dove for a sinking liner off the bat off Andres Torres, which squirted past the center fielder for a triple. Hunter Pence also dropped an easy pop fly. The wheels came off the wagon tonight.
The Phillies bullpen, which has a 7.92 ERA over the last 16 games, and defense cost Cliff Lee his first win of the season. Lee, who has a 2.17 ERA, was terrific in his return from an abdominal strain. The intense ace showed no signs of rust and gave up a pair of runs, (one courtesy of Victorino’s misadventure), five hits and a walk. He had six strikeouts in six solid innings.
“I felt good out there,” Lee said. “I try to put up zeros every inning. But we’ve struggled in just about every aspect of the game. We better turn this around.”
Charlie Manuel agreed and the manager held a team meeting after the Phillies gave away yet another game.
“We’ve got to get better,” Manuel said. “We have to hit better. We’ve got to catch the ball better. We got to execute better. We have to pitch better. We can do better as a team as far as preparation and as far as doing things right. If we can get back and play the game the way it should be played, if we can. We’ve got to be able to play better than that.”
The silver lining in the dark cloud was Lee and the offense, which generated six runs on 15 hits. Much of the punch came from the bottom of the lineup. It was no surprise that Manuel inserted sure-handed Freddy Galvis into the lineup in place of error-prone Pete Orr at second base.
Galvis made a number of terrific plays in the field, and he hit the ball with authority. Galvis was a homer short of the cycle. The bottom three of the order was 7-for-15 with three runs scored and five RBIs.
The Mets have won five out of six games at Citizens Bank Park this season. Meanwhile, the Phillies have lost six of their last eight games.