Frustrations Mount with Shoddy Defense and No Timely Hitting

Frustrations Mount with Shoddy Defense and No Timely Hitting

"We didn't deserve to win the game," Charlie said after Tuesday night's 6-2 loss against the Dodgers. "We didn't play good."

Charlie speaks the truth.

Roy Oswalt's recent dominance of the Dodgers came to an end, and while Roy's velocity continued to be a bit down, he wasn't particularly bad on the evening overall. The ball was going L.A.'s way in this one, which allowed plenty of Dodger base runners. A real rough series of plays in the third is what really cost him. After walking the Dodgers rookie pitcher to start the inning, Dee Gordan singled, Casey Blake singled, and then Roy Oswalt threw a ball to first base in a pickoff attempt. The only problem was, Ryan Howard wasn't holding the runner on -- a real cringe-inducing play.

"I had one inning that got kind of out of hand. Had a couple balls that got thrown away, had some signs mixed up," Oswalt said after the game.

Roy wasn't particularly worried about his stuff, and said that he feels fine, "We had some plays here and there that could have been one or two runs, and nothing would have been said about [baserunners]."

While Oswalt seemed to brush tonight off as just another loss in which he had some bad luck, Charlie Manuel says he's noticed a difference in Lil Roy this season.

"He's not as sharp as he was," Manuel said. "When we got him last year, when he came over here after his first game, he was pretty sharp," Manuel said. "His changeup was a pitch he had been working on and he really used it a lot last year. He was very aggressive, pounding the strikezone. His velocity is a little different, but I think his arm is still sound."

The real downer from Tuesday night's game was the team's inability to capitalize on Dodgers' wild starter Rubby De La Rosa.

"Some of the credit has to go to their guy," Utley, who had an RBI triple, said after the game. "But we had some pitches to hit and we didn't. Didn't work out for us tonight. We're going to turn the page and come out ready to go tomorrow."

It was just a bad night for timely hitting from the Phils. With the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, the Phillies only managed one run off a De La Rosa walk.

Oswalt wasn't great, but he kept the team in it, despite a couple of errors from the defense. Utley made a couple of throws that were way off target, and when asked if there was anything to it, Utley said there was not.

"Ryan is throwing me a good target over there," Chase said. "He's a big guy."

He may be a big guy when standing on first base, but he hasn't been living up to his Big Piece nickname at the plate (0-4 on the night with 2 Ks). The Phillies as a whole have been lacking power, with their last home run coming in the month of May. Wednesday is June 8th for those checking their calendars.

Without really being asked a particular question towards the end of his presser, Charlie offered up a soliloquy of sorts for anyone willing to listen to the frustrations that have been building.

"This is a game -- I say over and over and over, you guys here the same old story from me -- but this is a game you don't take nothing for granted," Manuel said. "Just because you did something last year or yesterday, doesn't mean you're going to do it tomorrow. We gotta play better baseball, we gotta hit better, we gotta run the bases better, we've got to score with two outs, we've just got to play the game much better."

It was some uncharacteristic angst from the Phils skipper, perhaps trying to send a message to his team.

"Our performance this year lately, especially against the pitching we've seen I think we should be hitting it, really. From Washington all the way through Pittsburgh and now tonight."

"We've just got to play better, that's the bottom line," Manuel continued. "It was a very bad ball game for us."

The skip wasn't the only guy one showing a bit of steam. While not really addressing the media lingering around the clubhouse after the game, Shane Victorino was visibly peeved.

"We're frustrated," Shane said. "Write that."

It seems losing frustrates everyone.

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).