Phils take a hit by not scoring runs

Shane Victorino did not hide his frustration after taking a called third strike in the ninth inning. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Phillies won two of three in their first series against the Braves in Atlanta. The Braves returned the favor taking two of three in Philadelphia following Sunday’s 5-2 win at Citizens Bank Park.

So what have we learned?

Not much really other than the Phillies look like they continue to have trouble against good pitching and the Braves appear over from their early-season swoon when they began the year 8-12.

The Phillies left 10 runners on base and wasted 12 hits. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, who is now 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA, was on the ropes, as were two of the three relievers, but the Phillies let them off the hook.

So this weekend, the Phillies have wasted a 16-strikeout performance by Cliff Lee and a nine-strikeout effort by Cole Hamels.

Other than that opening 7-1 loss to the New York Mets, Hamels (4-2, 2.83) has pitched well. And like Lee, he had to bite his tongue when asked about lack of run support.

“It’s part of baseball,” Hamels said. “You try to give up less runs than the opposing pitcher does.”

Not a real deep thought, but at least he didn’t throw his offense under the bus.

And like Lee the other night, Hamels took one for the team.

“I have to make good pitches, especially with guys on and I have to get out of innings unscathed,” Hamels said.

That is true but the offense will have to come around.

The Phillies expect to get Carlos Ruiz back on Friday and there is no telling when Chase Utley will be ready, but in their mind, he can’t come back soon enough.

Now the Phillies embark on an 8-game road trip and they have to hope they can get their offense going. All one has to do is look at the statistics and see that the player in Sunday’s lineup who has the second highest average for the Phillies is Hamels, now at .294.

Only Placido Polanco (.366) has a higher average than Hamels. Granted, Hamels only has 17 at bats, but you get the point.

Hamels will continue to be expected to pitch like one of the team’s many aces. If he remains second among starters in batting average, then more nights like Sunday bound to happen.

After the game, Marc Narducci and Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution offered their analysis of the weekend series between the Phillies and the Braves in the video below.