Tag Archives: Marlin Byrd

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.

 

Phillies Are a Team Going Nowhere Fast

24 May

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

Roberto Hernandez had another good outing wasted by Phillies lack of offense.

Roberto Hernandez had another good outing wasted by Phillies lack of offense in Friday’s loss to the LA. Dodgers.

PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies 2-0 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night at Citizen’s Bank Park typified what has been a bad to mediocre 2014 season.

First off, you had a pretty good pitching performance by Roberto Hernandez, who allowed just two runs in six and one-third innings of work. Unfortunately, Hernandez’s efforts went by the wayside because his offensive teammates couldn’t hit with men in scoring position.

“I thought Hernandez was outstanding, battling through his seven innings with his 110 pitches,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “We had three opportunities with two men and no outs.”

On three separate occasions—the fourth inning, the sixth inning and the seventh inning—the Phillies had runners in scoring position with less than one out.

Not only did they not score, they went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. In the fourth and in the sixth, it was their three, four, five and sixth hitters-Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf that came up empty. They were 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

“I kind of felt, it could have went the other way with something here or there,”  Sandberg said. “Against a tough pitcher, we created some opportunities with some base runners.”
On one level, you have to give credit to Dodgers starting lefthander Clayton Kershaw who kept the Phillies off the board with nine strikeouts while scattering two hits in six innings on the board. The Phils had their chances to put the knockout punch to Kershaw, but came up short.

“Kershaw did the job when he needed to and we didn’t,” said Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. “He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball.”

When you’re going up against a quality pitcher and you let him off the hook, you’re not going to win. That’s why this team is now five games below .500 and on a path to another bad season when their chase for the postseason will have an early ending.

I know you’re saying, dude it’s only May and we have a lot of baseball left to play. True, I am normally not in the habit of saying a team’s season is toast just two months into the season. But unless they can find some consistency on a regular basis in every aspect, they will head into an abyss from which they may never recover.

Throughout this season, the Phillies losses have been a continuum of not playing a complete game. If the starting pitching is going well, the offense falters. The Phils have been shut out in five of their last eight games at home. It was the If they’re hitting well, the pitching or the defense falls by the wayside. On some occasions this season the bullpen has been blown leads.

This is the kind of up and town play that makes me wonder if this is really the best team they can put out on the field. If that’s the case, this is going to be a long year which means the Phillies will be sellers at the July 31st trade deadline.

Yes, it’s only May and it may not be fair to some of you that we may be counting this team out early. But the reality of it is that we have to grips with the idea that this team is simply not that good and will not get better anytime soon.

It’s getting to the point where we may to cue former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora’s playoff rant and apply it to this team: “Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs…”
At this point, the Phillies need to start winning games, starting with the next one.