Phillies Grinding Out Wins When Offense Slows Down

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Sunday Sun

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel likes his team to score a bunch of runs coming from those four and five-run innings that also include Ryan Howard knocking a few balls into the center field bushes at Citizen’s Bank Park.

But in the harsh reality of a 162-game grind of a season, the Phillies will be more than happy to be on the upside of those 3-2 and 1-0 games as well. With their powerful starting rotation, the Phillies are going to win a few more of those games this season.

“You have these one-run games to test the character of your team,” Howard said.

Thanks to his second complete game of the season and some clutch hitting in the late innings, the Phillies came away with a 2-1 win over the New York Mets Saturday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Halladay was simply superb with eight strikeouts, one run allowed and just seven hits.But as good as Halladay was on the mound, it took the Phillies seven innings to get some offense against going to pull this game out. Manuel was happy with the win, but would rather see his team smack the ball out of the park and have the big inning.

“When a pitcher keeps you in close games like that, it gives you a chance, but there’s two sides to the coin, too,” Manuel said. “If you can score some runs every now and them that givess the starting pitcher some breathing room, too. It gives them room to work. We’ll keep trying to improve on our offense and try to get consistent.”

The Phillies would get all the runs they would need in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a solo home run from John Mayberry Jr. and a sacrifice fly from third baseman Placido Polanco that scored Shane Victorino for what turned out to be the winning run.

“You can’t just go out, as nice as it would be, to blow everybody out every single game,” Howard said. “These are those character building games, these are the games that when you’re down 1-0, it looks everything is bleak, how are you going to respond? With Mayberry getting that (homerun) and able to manufacture that other run was big.”

Meanwhile, Halladay had just one bad inning, if you want to call it that, when he gave up an RBI single to Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran that scored David Murphy in the top of the fourth.  But that’s all the Mets could muster as Halladay shut them down the rest of the way.

When he’s on the mound, Halladay said he doesn’t worry about run support because he’s confident in his team’s ability to figure out ways to win game. It’s something he’s witnessed for the last couple of years in Philadelphia.

“That’s what winning teams do and they’ve done it for a long time here,” Halladay said. “Long before I got here they were doing it that way. You hear talk about offense and not scoring runs,but we’ve found ways for the most part to get it done. I think as long we can do that and continue to find ways in which we can get better, we’ll take it. We’re finding different ways and that’s all that matters.”

Don’t get it twisted, the Phillies will have those days when balls will fly out of the park just as it did in the last two games coming into day where they scored 18 runs including their 10-3 win over the Mets in Friday’s game.

A is a win whether its 1-0 or 12-1. Ironically, it was those grind it out,  one-run games that the San Francisco Giants won in the National League Championship Series in 2010 against the Philllies that ultimately led them to the NL pennant and a World Series title.

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