Archive | May, 2014

Phillies Edge Mets Thanks to Brignac’s Walk-off Single in the 14th

31 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

 

Phillies Reid Brignac' gets a walkoff single to beat the Mets.

Phillies Reid Brignac’ gets a walkoff single to beat the Mets.

PHILADELPHIA— It took all of five hours and 23 minutes, but the Phillies came away with a 6-5 win in 14 innings late Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park thanks to a walk-off RBI single by Reid Brignac that scored Marlon Byrd.

“I had a good feeling,” Brignac said. “I was trying to stay confident and trying to get a good pitch to hit. Luckily (Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia) threw me a cutter that caught a lot of plate and I didn’t miss it.”

On a long night where the winds started blowing from the outfield to home plate, the Phillies should probably thank Mother Nature for the shifting wind patterns. Byrd opened the 14th and hit what looked to be a routine flyball, but Mets rightfielder Chris Young misplayed it and the ball popped out of his glove.

“It looked like he took his eye off the ball at the last second,” Brignac said. “The wind kind of pushed back a bit. That was a play that Chris (Young) makes 10 out of 10 times. He just happened to drop it this one time. You don’t see that often.”

Byrd ended up on second and was moved to the third on a single by catcher Carlos Ruiz. Mejia intentionally walked Cesar Hernandez to load the bases for Brignac’s single. It was the second walk-off hit of his career. The last time he did it was back 2010 when he was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays against the New York Yankees when he hit a walk-off home run.

“That was a big swing, a couple hits,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “He finally got a strike in the zone. The bases loaded had something to do with that. The pitcher had to come at him.”

The Phillies were able to come away with the victory because of its often-criticized bullpen. The combination Jake Diekman, Mike Adams, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Mario Hollands, and Justin De Fratus, who got the win, held the Mets to just three hits.

“From a bullpen perspective it’s awesome to go out there and hang that many zeroes,” De Fratus said. “Hopefully, we build off of this and we keep it going.”

Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett had a strange night. Sometimes, he was pretty good and other times not so good. He had 11 strikeouts and six walks. He gave up five runs on five hits in seven innings. He threw 115 pitches.

“I’m not all over the place, I’m missing here and there,” Burnett said. “Six (walks) is a lot and they scored. I’m just going to keep grinding until find a way. It was one of the games in which got I stronger.”

Perhaps the biggest hero for the Phillies in this game was leftfielder Domonic Brown, who was 1-for-4 including a huge three-run homer in the fourth inning.

“I was some tough luck at time, but that’s baseball,” Brown said. “I think I’ve been doing a decent job with runners in scoring position. I’m just build off that. I played good tonight, but I’m just trying to keep it going.”

In the second inning, Burnett gave up two straight walks to leftfielder Curtis Granderson and right fielder Bobby Abreu. First baseman Lucas Duda doubled to score Granderson from second. Catcher Tony d’Arnaud grounded out to second to score Abreu from third. Shortstop Ruben Tejada singled to left to bring home Duda.

Burnett helped his own cause with a single to right to open the third inning. Rollins singled to right and Burnett went to third because Abreu over ran the ball and was charged with an error. Burnett scored on Chase Utley’s ground out to second to cut the Mets margin to 3-1.

The Phillies took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on a three-run homer to the right-field seats by Brown off Mets starting pitcher Rafael Montero, who allowed four runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings.

Just when it looked like the Phillies were about to take control, the Mets regained the lead at 5-4 on a two-out RBI double to right field by Abreu that score Juan Lagares, who reached on an infield single and Daniel Murphy who walked.

The Phillies evened things in the fifth on Brown’s RBI ground out to the shortstop to score Marlin Bryd, who walked to open the inning and went to third on a double by Ruiz.

It would be another three hours and nine innings before anyone scored again.

Happy Warrior: Graham Hopes to Hang on With the Eagles

31 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham is fighting for a spot on the team.

Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham is fighting for a spot on the team.

PHILADELPHIA –As a sports writer, it is a cardinal rule that you’re not supposed to cheer in the press box or openly cheer for your favorite athlete. It’s something us old sportswriters tell younger aspirants entering our profession.

But every now and then we are reminded that we scribes of sports are actually human. There are times we, like fans, often run into players that you wind up cheering for and wishing him all the best.

That’s the case with Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham who is still hanging on with the team by a thread and is not guaranteed to make the final roster. During his time with the Eagles, Graham has been a good guy even through some difficult times with injuries.

Throughout the offseason, Graham has been the subject of trade rumors. Even in the midst of what could be his impending demise here with the Eagles, Graham came into this first set of offseason workouts with a smile and brimming with confidence. That’s why you find yourself rooting for a guy like that.

“I feel like they want me here, I’m still here … I feel like if this is something they wanted to do, I would have been gone,” Graham said of the rumors. “I came in at the right weight 265 (pounds). I’m controlling what I can. Whatever the rumors were, I really didn’t pay attention to it because I got a role to play and that’s to do my part to win games for this year.”

During his sojourn with the Eagles through devastating injuries and coaching changes, Graham has often faced adversity with a smile and a determination to be a contributor any way he can while he’s still with the team. He said the trade rumors have only strengthened his resolve.

“Well you know that chip has always been on my shoulder ever since I hurt my knee, so it never way, but it definitely put a chip on my shoulder,” Graham said.

Playing at the linebacker position in the pro for the first time in his career, Graham had 21 tackles (14 solo) coming off the bench playing behind Trent Cole and Conner Barwin. With a year under his belt, the former University of Michigan star said he has a better grasp of defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ 3-4 defense.

“This year I’m more fast-paced because I know the defense … with a year under my belt, I can take it to another level,” Graham said. “I just want to show them guys that I really want to be here because I love Philadelphia I’ve made it my home and I would be sad if I have to go.”

Complicating Graham’s chances to make this year’s team is that the team drafted pass-rushing linebacker Marcus Smith out of Louisville in the first round. If the rookie has an impressive camp, Graham, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, could be expendable.

“I think it’s just an added guy that’s going to help us win,” Graham said. “It’s all about competition. You can bring in all the competition you want. We’re going to make each better. If it’s here or elsewhere, I’m not shying away from competition.”

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Graham has done a good job when he was in games last season, but he also acknowledged that it might be a numbers’ game with the depth at linebacker position.

“Yeah, I think he obviously has the skill set to rush the passer and set the edge. And when he’s been in there, he’s been productive. The issue is that the other guy’s really productive, too,” Kelly said. “How many times can you get them all on the field together? If you put Brandon in, do you take Trent [Cole] out; if you put Brandon in, do you take Connor [Barwin] out? It’s really the pecking order.”

With the numbers the Eagles have at the linebacker position, Graham said he’s confident that he’s going to make the 2014 Birds roster and let the chips fall where they may.

“I feel like I have the opportunity. Any person’s dream is to start,” Graham said. “As long as I’m playing that’s all that matters to me. At the end of the day, I want to get out there and show what I can do. If we’re winning that’s all that matters.”

Wheeler and the Mets Stifle Frustrating Phillies

30 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

 

Marlon Byrd's solo home run was the Phillies source of offense in the loss to the Mets. Webster Riddick.

Marlon Byrd’s solo home run was the Phillies source of offense in the loss to the Mets. Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—If there’s anything you can almost count on this season when you’re watching the Phillies, you never know which team is going to show up on a nightly basis.

After getting a walk-off home run by Ryan Howard to win on Wednesday, that other Phillies team showed up. You know the one that can’t seem to hit or score with runners in scoring position or commit a costly error. The team that stays near .500, but can’t seem quite get beyond it.

That above-mentioned Phillies team was on the short end of a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets Thursday night at Citizen’s Bank Park in front of 26, 688 fans, most of whom probably went home shaking their heads in utter bewilderment.

With the exception of Marlon Byrd’s solo home run in the seventh, the Phillies offense was basically nonexistent and they made Mets starting pitcher Zach Wheeler (2-5, 4.31 ERA) look like the second-coming of Roger Clemens or Tom Seaver.

Wheeler had nine strikeouts and zero walks while allowing the one run on four hits. The Phillies as a team struck out 15 times against Mets pitching.

“Tonight it looked like (Wheeler) had pretty good stuff. I would say that his record doesn’t indicate the kind of stuff that he had tonight,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “We were just behind in the count the whole game. We couldn’t pull the trigger on his fast ball. He got better as the game wento on with his breaking stuff. Even the relievers had some pretty stuff.”

Meanwhile, Phillies rookie starting David Buchanan didn’t have a bad outing. It wasn’t all that great and wouldn’t have been that bad if he had some run support. In six and two-thirds innings, he allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits, two walks and a strikeout.

Buchanan showed some flashes of toughness in this game. In the second inning, he allowed the first three Mets—Lucas Duda, Chris Young, and shortstop Wilmer Flores to reach on singles.

But the sinker ball-throwing Phillies righthander got Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud to hit into a 6-4-3 double play while Duda crossed the plate to score the game’s first run to give the Mets a 1-0. He got Wheeler to ground out to short to end the inning.

“That’s a situation where you have to bear down and minimize the damage,” said Buchanan, who is now 1-1 with a 3.86 earned run average. “According to the laws of baseball, that guy’s on third is supposed to score anyway. To get out with one run is minimize the damage of what you’re supposed to do. We had a good double play up the middle and that’s all you can ask for.”

In the fourth inning, Young hit a two-run homer to left center give the Mets a 3-0 lead. New York’s final run of the game came in the fourth inning. After a single by Wheeler, Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares reached first when Phillies third baseman Cesar Hernandez short hopped the throw to the baseman.

After Daniel Murphy flied out to center, a slowly hit ground ball by David Wright landed in Hernandez’s at third.

But instead of stepping on the bag at third to get the force or just throwing the ball to first, Hernandez hesitated and threw the ball to second, but second base umpire Marvin Hudson said Lagares was safe and the bases were loaded. Buchanan walked Curtis Granderson, allowing Wheeler to score from third.

It was just another one of those head-scratching nights for a team that can’t seem to get out of the way of themselves.

Up and Down Phillies Fall to Rockies Despite Revere’s First Career Homerun

28 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

 

Ben Revere gets his first career home run in loss to Colorado.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Ben Revere gets his first career home run in loss to Colorado. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—Any optimism from the Phillies rout of the Colorado Rockies on Monday night was soon gone and forgotten after Tuesday night’s lackluster performance.

Reverting back to the team that fails to get timely hits and has a bullpen with a bad habit for turning small deficits into even larger ones, the Phillies found themselves on the bad end of a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Rockies in front of 23, 159 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The Rockies broke a 1-1 in the top of the seventh on a three-run home run by catcher Willin Rosario off Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels, who had been pitching well coming into that inning. He started the inning by getting the dangerous hitting Troy Tulowitzki to ground out to third.

Hamels then gave up walks to Corey Dickerson and Michael Cuddyer. After getting first baseman Justin Morneau to fly out to center, Rosario swung at Hamels first pitch and knocked it into the seats in right field.

“It was just a poorly executed pitch,” Hamels said. “(Rosario) is an aggressive hitter. I know he’s swinging and I have to be able to make that pitch.”

While Rosario’s home run was the decisive blow of the game, it probably shouldn’t have come down to that because the Phillies offense failed to come through when it mattered most.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Phillies had the bases loaded and nobody out, but failed to score a single run. The Phils inability to come through in what could have been a big inning was a huge momentum killer.

“We wanted to come away with at least one run there and possibly more,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “With (Ben Revere) and he happened to get a pitch inside there and he hit it to the defense. It’s just something about getting the job done in that situation. We’ve talked about that approach the pressure is on the pitcher. We’re to get one run in first before you get two or three.”

The Phillies got their only runs of the game on a pair of solo home runs. The first came in the fourth inning from first baseman Darin Ruf. The second came from a player least likely to knock the ball out of the park—centerfielder Ben Revere who homered to right in the bottom of the seventh inning.

It was Revere’s first career home run and it took 1,466 at-bats in the major leagues to get his first round tripper. The homer by the diminutive centerfield was the lone bright spot of an otherwise terrible performance by the Phillies.

“It was definitely good getting that monkey off your back, I guess,” Revere said. “My game is mainly hit line drives and hit a ball on the ground. I get into a lot of trouble when I hit the ball in the air. At least that time, it went over the fence. I was hoping we would have won the game.”

Revere’s home run cut the deficit to 4-2 coming into the eighth inning. Unfortunately, the Phillies bullpen gave up two more runs. Phils reliever Jeff Manship gave up a triple to Rockies pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge and an RBI double to centerfielder Drew Stubbs, who later scored on an RBI ground out by Brandon Barnes.

“(Manship) is our guy in the eighth right there,” Sandberg said. “The guy has got to step up.”

Phillies Notebook: Utley Trade Rumors Not True

28 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

 

With the Phillies struggling, there is speculation that the Phillies could trade second baseman Chase Utley by the July 31trade deadline.

With the Phillies struggling, there is speculation that the Phillies could trade second baseman Chase Utley by the July 31trade deadline.

PHILADELPHIA–Despite rumors to the contrary, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia media before Tuesday’s game, the team has no interest in trading second baseman Chase Utley.

“First off, no one wants to trade Chase Utley and no.2 I don’t think Chase Utley wants to go anywhere and he has the power to decide what he wants to do,” Amaro said. “The point is kind of moot. The same with Jimmy. The same story.”

The website, Rant Sports, recently reported the Yankees were interested in Utley in exchange for some top-rated prospects and a mid-level veteran.

Amaro said those rumors happen all the time because the Phillies (22-26) are not in first place. Utley is currently batting .337 with four home runs and 25 RBI. His contract runs to the end of 2015.

Sandberg open to Platooning Howard and Ruf

In Monday’s win over the Colorado Rockies, Ryan Howard had a breakout performance with five runs batted in and three hits after batting just .088 in his last 10 games coming into the game and hadn’t hit a home run since May 8.

As much as Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg would like to keep Howard in the lineup just to keep his groove going, he rested Howard Tuesday and replaced him at first base with Darin Ruf in order to give him some time with a lefthanded pitcher on the mound for the Rockies.

“I’ve been looking for a day to give (Howard) a break. He’s played a number of games in a row and he had a real good approach against a right-handed pitcher (Monday) and I was happy with that,” Sandberg said. “I want to give Darin a chance against a left-hander with four right-handed pitchers in a row after that.

“After a big game like that, sometimes it’s a good time to give a guy break, make it a positive and let (Howard) build on that against the right-handed pitching that’s coming up after tonight’s game.”

Sandberg said if Ruf, who bats right, can be productive at hitting left-handers on a consistent basis, he will be open to platooning Howard and Ruf against right and left-handed pitchers.

“If it happens to work, it’s an opportunity to have a lineup like that that produces, it becomes an an opportunity and a possibility going forward just to get some consistency in the offense against right and left-handed pitching,” Sandberg said.

“If it’s effective and if it works, maybe it’s a positive for two players. It’s a positive for the team, but that’s yet to be seen. (Tuesday) is an opportunity to take a look at that.”
Sandberg may have to at some point. Ruf homered in tonight’s game.

There’s seems to be a belief on the Phillies (22-26) that if they can just somehow put every aspect of their game together on a consistent basis, especially the offense, they can contend for a division title.

“It’s hot, it’s cold, but at some point we can get scalding hot,” Howard said after Monday’s game. “For as hot and cold as we’ve been all year, we’re still not out of it. That’s the bright side of things. If we can get on a good streak, we’ll be right there.”

Franco Not Ready for Prime Time Just Yet

Maikel Franco needs more time at Triple-A Lehigh Valley to get ready for MLB competition according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

Maikel Franco needs more time at Triple-A Lehigh Valley to get ready for MLB competition according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

Even with starting third baseman Cody Asche on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said rising prospect Maikel Franco, who missed a couple of games with a respiratory illness, is not ready to come up from the Triple-A Lehigh High Valley Iron Pigs to the big league ball club just yet.

“He’s just not playing good enough baseball yet, he’s not really ready to be a big leaguer yet. And he’s not feeling all that well,” Amaro said. “He played like he was sick yesterday. There’s no reason to bring Franco unless he’s ready to be a big leaguer as far as I’m concerned.”

So far this season, Franco is batting .231 with a .358 slugging percentage and a .311 on-base percentage with the Iron Pigs. In the month of May, the 21-year-old Franco is batting .291 with three homers and 12 runs batted in. He also has .384 on-base percentage and a .465 slugging percentage.

“Offensively, he’s made some adjustments, he’s made some improvements better than in the earlier part of the season, but he’s not really going on all cylinders now. We’re still contemplating it,” Amaro said. “If he was ready to be in the big leagues, he would be up.”

Phillies Bounce Back From No-Hitter With An Offensive Explosion Led by Howard’s Five RBIs

27 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Ryan Howard was placed on the 15-Day disabled list on Saturday and will have an MRI on Sunday or Monday.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Ryan Howard drove in a season-high five runs batted in against the Colorado Rockies. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA –Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had been mired in a horrific slump in his last 10 games coming into Monday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

He was batting .088 (3-for-34, 3 runs batted in) and 0-for-16 coming into the fourth inning of the series opener against Colorado. Suffice it to say, Howard was way overdue.

A little more than 24 hours after his team was no-hit by Josh Beckett and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Howard drove in a season-high five runs on three hits including a two-run homer to lead the Phillies to a 9-0 shutout win over the Colorado Rockies in front of 27, 289 fans at Citizen’s Bank Park.

“It’s always good. It’s a crazy game, you’re bound to break out at some point,” Howard said. “(Monday) we were able to, so we just got to be able to take that into tomorrow, and the next day and the next day after that.”

For a team that suffered through a demoralizing Sunday afternoon at the hands of Beckett, seeing the hard-hitting Howard, who went 3-for-4 against the Rockies, break out of his slump was something like manna from heaven for a team that has been starving on offense.

“It was a good game for him to see him connect,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “He had some good swings today and made some things happen.”

Howard said he wanted to build on his last at-bat against Beckett when he hit a line drive out to center. For him, it was about hanging and there and finding places where the ball can drop in for a hit to get things going.

“Found some real estate, found some grass out there,” Howard said. “You go through those times, those lapses, those scuffles and all kinds of stuff. You just have to keep pressing. That’s what I was trying to do. It gets tough, it’s gets frustrating. It gets bad at times. I was trying to build off that last at-bat from (Sunday).”

The Phillies also got a big performance from second baseman Chase Utley who also went 3-for-4 with a run batted in. Centerfielder Ben Revere also had three hits including his seventh run batted in of the season. John Mayberry Jr. also contributed to the Phillies cause with a two-run homer as a pinch hitter in the Phillies five-run seventh inning.

The offensive explosion by the Phils ended a 10-game losing for starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (1-5), who got his last win on Aug. 11th of 2013. In six and two-thirds innings of work, he allowed no runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

“That’s what you’re looking for to pitch well and get the “W.” That’s what you want to do,” Kendrick said. “The guys were able to put up some runs. On the pitching side, we were able to keep them from scoring. I was just trying to worry about one pitch at a time and I was able to do that today.”

The Phillies got their first four runs off Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who gave up seven hits including Howard’s sixth inning two-run homer. He pitched five innings and to two men in the sixth before leaving the game.

Phillies relievers allowed just one in the last two and one-third innings. The closest the Rockies came to scoring was in top of the seventh with two on and two out and their best hitter, Troy Tulowitzki coming to the plate.

But Phillies setup man Mike Adams fanned Tulowitzki to end the Colorado threat. The Phils scored five runs in their half of the seventh to put the game away.

While this game was good for the team’s psyche after going through a devastating no-hitter, the Phillies have to figure out a way to do this on a consistent basis. That’s something they’ve struggled with all season.

“That’s the potential that is possibly there with any given game the way I look at it,” Sandberg said. “It’s starts at the top of the order. Ben (Revere) getting on base and making things happen. Chase (Utley) has been solid. It’s good to see (Howard) connect on some balls and drive some runs in. It’s seems like the potential is there when we go out there. Hopefully, it’s the start of something with this new series against Colorado.”

Notes–Cliff Lee Needs further Evaluation

Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, who is on the 15-day disabled list, will have his has strained left elbow re-evaluated over the next three days and has not been clear to pitch. While the team was hoping he would be back on June 3, Lee’s stint on the DL maybe longer than what the team planned.

Lee said he still felt some soreness in the elbow when he was tested by Phillies team doctors on Monday.

“It’s definitely better, but it’s still there,” Lee said. “That’s fine whenever I can do some of the tests they put me through if I can without feeling it at all, then I’ll start throw. Until then I got to continue to work on it and let it heal.”

Lee has as Grade 1-2 of the flexor tendon and had been complaining about soreness since April. Lee is 4-4 with a 3.18 earned run average.

128 Pitches and A Hit Ain’t One: Beckett’s No-Hitter Reflective of Phillies Poor Offense

25 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett held the Phillies hitless in LA's 6-0 win. Photo by Chris Murray.

Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett held the Phillies hitless in LA’s 6-0 win. Photo by Chris Murray.

PHILADELPHIA—Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett threw 128 pitches on a warm Sunday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park and the Phillies couldn’t hit any of them.

Thanks to an effective mixing  of his pitches, Beckett tossed his first career no-hitter as the Dodgers came away with a 6-0 shutout victory over a visibly frustrated Phillies squad that has forgotten how to hit and score runs at their home park.

“Amazing,” said Phillies rightfielder Marlon Byrd. “He used his curve ball like I’ve never seen him. He did everything off of that. The guy hit his spots. All nine, no hits.”

Beckett said he wasn’t nervous about throughout the course of the game. He said he was kidding around with his teammates in the dugout about it during the fourth inning. In baseball lore, it is supposedly bad luck to even think that you’re going to toss a no-hitter, especially in the middle innings.

“I was joking around about it. No one else was joking about it,” Beckett said. “I was telling (manager Don Mattingly) in the fourth inning, it’s threes inning than I’ve taken one before. It was an ongoing joke. In the fifth inning, this four innings than I’ve ever taken on before.”

While you definitely have to tip your cap to an outstanding performance by a pitcher who is probably heading to the Hall of Fame, Beckett’s no-hitter against the Phillies was something that was bound to happen sooner or later given the Phillies inability to get timely hits and score.

“We’ve had our ups and downs at home with scoring runs,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “We’ve scored in bunches and we’ve had some closed spots. It’s something we need to improve on and that’s the whole lineup that needs to care of that.”

The no-hitter was reflective of the Phillies offensive’s inconsistency and in their inability to figure out the problem and solve it.

In five of their last 10 home games, the Phillies haven’t been able to score runs. It’s the second time in two days they have been kept off the scoreboard. They can’t buy hits when they have runners in scoring position. In the Phillies two losses to the Dodgers this weekend, they are 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

In Beckett’s no-hitter, the Phillies didn’t get a runner in scoring position until the bottom of the ninth inning when Jimmy Rollins reached on a walk and then stole second base without a throw from the catcher, which is ruled as a fielder’s choice- defensive indifference.

You have to wonder are they this bad on offense? Is it a case of them pressing or trying too hard in their approach to the plate?

“You want to get the job done regardless,” Byrd said. “Nobody goes out there and tries not to get any hits. You want to drive in runs, you want to get on base and make things happen. Pressing? It’s a good possibility when you have chances with runners in scoring position and need a big inning and they put up one or two runs and you’re trying to come.

“The way it looks when you’re watching games, it could look like we’re pressing.”

In spite of all their hitting woes, Sandberg is optimistic that his team won’t wallow in their current funk for long. He said he expects to them to get back on the wagon and starting hitting again.

“I’d say the attitude of our guys is to get right back out there tomorrow and do something about it,” said Sandberg when he was asked if his team would feel a snow-ball effect from their hitting woes. “That’s the character of the guys they’ve been able to bounce back from losses and some tough games that’s what I anticipate tomorrow.”

Conspicuously absence from the Phillies postgame club house were its long time stars in Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Rollins, who gave a short, terse response to reporters as he was leaving the locker room: “(Beckett) was good. There’s nothing else to be said.”

For those guys, the three faces of this franchise not to speak to the media about this game and the way this team is playing is absolutely appalling. Phillies fans deserve a lot more than that from their franchise players. You have to be a stand-up guy when things are going well and be able to face the music when things are going bad.