Phillies Zone Live: Game 9, the series finale with the New York Mets
After two days off, we're back, refreshed and ready to provide in-game incites on one of the two best baseball blogs you will find on philly.com.
We used this blog to discuss the thought process behind trying to steal third base with two outs last week and the opinion of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel was that it is never a good play if you're thrown out for the final out of the inning. That is Baseball 101.
But that's exactly how the bottom of the fourth inning ended for the slumping, power-deprived Phillies.
After Juan Pierre singled for his third hit of the day and advanced to second base on a two-out walk to Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate.
No one will argue that Rollins is a prototypical three-hole hitter, but he stepped to the plate in the fourth hitting .343 and had singled off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey in the first inning. Rollins was in the midst of a seven-pitch at-bat and had worked the count to 3-2 when Pierre attempted to steal third base.
Mets catcher Mike Nickeas made a perfect throw to gun down Pierre, leaving the Phillies down by a run.
That cannot happen to a team that is struggling the way the Phillies are right now.
Lots of singles and a single run
The Phillies had eight hits through the first six innings, which is two more than they had the entire game Saturday.
Two problems: They were all singles and only one of them came with runners in scoring position. The Phillies were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position during the first two games of the series and they were hitting .222 overall with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies went into play Sunday with eight doubles and five home runs for a total of 13 extra-base hits. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were winless after taking two of three from the Phillies in the season's opening series, had fewer extra-base hits with 12.
Four teams in baseball -- Texas, Baltimore, St. Louis and Milwaukee -- had as many home runs as the Phillies had extra-base hits.
The good news for the Phillies through three is that Cole Hamels appears to have dominating stuff. He struck out five through three innings and has allowed just two hits. The bad news for Hamels is that one of the two hits was a two-run homer by Ike Davis, who had just two hits in 28 at-bats when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the first inning.
Hamels threw Davis a first-pitch cutter that got a little too much plate and the Mets' first baseman planted the pitch in the right-field seats.