By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun.
When the day started, there were 45,550 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park hoping the Phillies would beat the Chicago Cubs in the finale of their three-game series.
But by the end of the eigthth inning, the ball park was half-filled when fans saw that their team was in five-run role and had just one hit off Cubs starter Matt Garza. Suffice it to say that there were more hits on the scoreboard’s “Bongo Cam,” than tanything the Phillies could muster in nine innings.
Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs is just another game in which fans are marking their calendars to the day that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will return to the starting lineup. The Philllies finished the day with just one run off two hits.
The only run of the game for the Phillies came when Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked TyWigginton with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
It was Garza that put the real mojo on the Philllies bats today allowing just one hit—a bloop single by shortstiop Jimmy Rollins in the first inning— with 10 strike outs in seven innings of work on the mound.
“As a matter fact we didn’t hit the ball hard,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “Garza had a lot to with it, but at the same time our hitting is inconsistent and we’ve got to more consistent. I expect us to hit the ball and score every night. You have to to hit some balls in the game and consistently move the ball around a little bit at the major league level to win games.
Kyle Kendrick allowed three runs, two of them earned ,and seven strikeouts in six innings of work. A bad throw on a pick-off led to one of those runs in the third inning He struggled in the beginning, but he got better as the game moved forward. Unfortunately, the Phillies offense just could not get anything going.
“I just try to give us a chance to win the game,” Kendrick said.
Inside the Phillies clubhouse , the silence was about as deafening as the silence of their bats today. Trying to find answers to the lack of consistency at the plate has also become somewhat annoying to the players when they’re asked about it on a daily basis by reporters.
“For every team I’ve been on these questions are nothing new,, you go through it every year,” said Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre, who was 0-for-3 in the loss to the Cubs. “I think that the guys have been through it enough that you can’t panic.”
Phillies rightfielder Hunter Pence said he believes that it’s a matter of time before the Phillies will become consistent on the offensive end.
“It’s going to take for a few of us to get hot and it’s going to happen,” Pence said. “[Shane] Victorino is going to get better than what he’s doing, I’m going to get better than what I’m doing. It’s a thing where you continue to come out ready to play everyday and continue to go with the process. There’s no panic, it’s a long season. Once we get a few those of bats hot and with our pitching and I think we’ll be alright.”