Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The AL Nightmare Is Over

The Phillies finished interleague play yesterday with a 5-1 loss to the Rangers. They're happy they don't have to play the AL anymore this season.

The AL Nightmare Is Over

The pounding has stopped.

The Phillies finished interleague play yesterday with a 5-1 loss to the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. The Phillies went 4-11 against the American League: 1-2 against the Blue Jays, 1-2 against the Red Sox, 0-3 against the Angels, 1-2 against the Athletics and 1-2 against the Rangers. We’ve seen some bad baseball the last couple weeks. Fortunately for the Phillies, they won’t play the American League again until they a) make the World Series or b) open their Grapefruit League schedule next March.

The World Series seems eons away at this point.

So what to make of the Phillies after this recent stretch?

Have they been exposed? Or is the American League just that much better than the National League and they should be fine once they return to their NL schedule tomorrow night against the Braves?

I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s be honest: the NL is mediocre compared to the AL. Just three NL teams had winning records against the AL in interleague play: the Mets (9-6), the Reds (9-6) and the Braves (8-7). So I think the Phillies should find some normalcy beginning tomorrow night. But there’s no question the Phillies showed some holes: offensively, they’ve been too inconsistent. Until Ryan Howard singled to score Chase Utley in the sixth inning yesterday, the Phillies were about to be shutout for the third time in their last 11 games. That shouldn’t be happening in a lineup that includes Utley, Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and others. It just shouldn’t.

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Kris Benson pitched yesterday for triple-A Lehigh Valley, but acknowledged he’s not 100 percent and won’t be able to throw 100 pitches in a start this season.

Wh-wh-wh-what?

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In the Phillies Notebook, the Phillies still aren’t sure what they want to do with Brett Myers, although everybody seems to be indicating they will skip in the rotation Thursday in Atlanta. There’s a chance they could make that decision today, but it’s more likely they announced it before tomorrow night’s game against the Braves at Turner Field.

So Taguchi also has become the 30th man on a 25-man roster. He has struggled at the plate and struggled in the field at times, and Charlie Manuel practically has stopped using him as a result. Manuel acknowledges that Taguchi, who hit well the last three seasons with the Cardinals, needs to play more to play better. But he also acknowledges that he can’t find a place to play him.

That’s not good for Taguchi.

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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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