Behind another masterful performance from the 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, the Phillies took the first of a three-game set against the Florida Marlins Friday night.
(Yes, I’m already bestowing the award to the ex-Blue Jay. I’m sorry, but I don’t think there has been this type of a frightening, dominating starting pitcher in the NL since Randy Johnson. When Roy loses a game this year, it will be monumental.)
As ridiculous as it may sound, this game was a must-win for the Phillies. Their first nine games have consisted of six-pack with perennial cellar-dwellers, the Washington Nationals, and another three against the Houston “stick-em-with-a-fork-they-are-already-done” Astros. Not really the best competition, but thankfully, the Phillies took advantage, going 7-2 to start the season.
No matter how many jokes are made about the 400 people who come out to see a Marlins game or their “charming” team payroll, year in and year out, Florida wreaks havoc in the NL East. They have a well of unbelievable young talent, always surround themselves with overachieving castoffs, and are managed by men who know how to motivate their crew to play the game hard. That is why every time I see their name on the schedule, I get a little anxiety attack. If anyone has a chance to dethrone the Phillies, it is the Florida Marlins.
That is why Friday night’s 8-6 win was a great first step. Halladay, in his first Citizens Bank Park appearance, pitched an incredible game against one of the best offenses in the league. The damage:
8 IP, 2 R/ER, 8 H, 4 K, 0 BB, 100 pitches
A complete game would have been icing on the cake, but due to a steady rain that elongated the game, and the fact the Phillies’ offense, once again, put up huge numbers, skipper Charlie Manuel thought it best to rest Doc.
Even though the Phils walked away with a win, what transpired in the ninth inning, I feel, is an issue the club is seriously going to have to address very soon: pitching. David Herndon came in and gave up four runs on five hits while only recording one out.
Roy Halladay cannot go on the mound every day. The offense will not put up 7-8 runs every game. The rest of the pitching staff needs to step up and start throwing better and more consistently. Even though they are coming away with wins, having a starting pitcher only go 1 2/3 innings and giving up six runs, like Kyle Kendrick did against the Nationals, is not going to cut it against teams like the Cardinals or Rockies. Hopefully with starter Joe Blanton set to return fairly soon, some order may be restored, but if the rest of the staff keeps up this tightrope act, something drastic may need to be done. And I’m not talking about picking Pedro Martinez again. If things look bad, Jayson Werth may see himself going a lot sooner than everyone thought. And that makes me want to vomit.
About the Author
Written by Bryan Sargent
Bryan Sargent is a lifelong Phillies fan, currently residing in the least hospitable city for such a person as himself, New York City. This coming January he will be attending Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, FL. He is currently documenting the entire process on his blog (http://www.bryansargent.com). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @BTSargent.