Another heartbreaking loss for the Phillies last night, as Roy Halladay allowed two runs over seven strong innings and the bullpen pitched two scoreless frames, but the bats could not get it going when it mattered in a 2-1 loss to the Padres. Close games are killing this team, and it seems when one piece finally falls into place (pitching), the bottom drops out on another (offense).
The Fightins can still salvage a much-needed series victory this afternoon though. Cole Hamels and his swagger return to the hill today after a "five-game suspension" to take on journeyman Jeff Suppan, who is making a comeback with San Diego after spending 2011 in the minors.
Suppan has made two starts since returning to the big league diamond on May 2, picking up the win in both. He's allowed one run off of eight hits in 10 innings of work so far, striking out three and walking four. He last threw the Phillies in a short relief appearance for Milwaukee almost two years ago to the day, and his last start against Philly was in September '09.
For his 17-year career, the 37-year-old righthander is 140-143 with a 4.68 ERA, so this guy is very hittable. It's sort of amazing he's managed to build such a lengthy career with these kinds of numbers. Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence both see this guy well (5 home runs and 14 RBIs in 44 combined at bats), among others, so maybe the Phils get back on the scoreboard today.
Hamels (4-1, 2.45) had his start pushed back from Saturday after receiving the suspension for plunking Bryce Harper -- no harm, no foul there. He's been the club's best starter so far, holding opponents to two or fewer runs in each of his last five starts. Cole's strikeouts to walk ratio (7.3 to 1) is currently the best in the NL by a healthy margin, and he even hits Suppan pretty well too (2-for-3)!
It's a big game for the Phillies. They need wins against inferior ball clubs before the schedule heats up with powerhouses and rivals.