While the Baltimore Orioles have managed to lose 102 games this year, their 48th win came at the expense of a Philadelphia Phillies team making a playoff run.
By Chris Murray
For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
Before the team’s inevitable showdown with the Atlanta Braves for the National East crown, the Philadelphia Phillies have an excellent opportunity to gain some ground and possibly put themselves in first place this week because their last two home series are against two last-place teams—the Baltimore Orioles (48-102) and Pittsburgh Pirates (56-93).
But the one thing that has been fairly consistent for the inconsistent Phillies is that they’ve managed to find ways to struggle against teams they are supposed to beat.
Monday night’s 2-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the worst team in the majors with a eye-popping 102 losses, was just the latest example.
With that loss, the Phillies come into Tuesday night’s game three games behind the Braves in the National League East and 4 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.
In the shutout loss to the hapless Orioles, the Phillies offense simply couldn’t get anything going. Baltimore’s starting pitcher John Means, who has thrown a no-hitter this year, scattered just four hits in six and two-thirds innings on the mound. He had six strikeouts and just one walk.
“It’s frustrating, but you’re facing a guy that’s thrown a no-hitter,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “I think we’re capable of scoring runs off of him. It’s not like he has a zero ERA. It’s not how you want to start the homestand, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We have to turn it around (Tuesday) and let’s see what happens the rest of the week.”
Means did a good job of keeping Phillies hitters off-balance by mixing his fastball and his changeup.
“He seems to give you a different look every time,” Girardi said. “His changeup gave us some trouble tonight. His changeup is different than you would see in a lefthander’s changeup. It kinda stays on the same plane. It doesn’t dive like most changeups do.
The Phillies offense was simply non-existent on Monday. The team managed to only get two runners in scoring position the entire game and showed no signs of coming up with a rally to take the victory.
“When we did hit balls hard, they were standing in the right spot. I thought when we got (Means) out I thought maybe we would have a chance. We weren’t able to come up with a big hit,” Girardi said.
The Orioles scored all their runs in the first inning off Phillies starter Ranger Suarez (6-5), who didn’t allow another run after a shaky first inning. Baltimore got RBI singles from catcher Pedro Severino and centerfield Ryan McKenna.
“The location of my pitches wasn’t there in the first inning, and I hung a couple of pitches,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “After that I continued to do what I usually do which is to attack hitters. I was able to keep the score the way it was to give us a chance to win. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we wanted.”
After that first inning, Suarez settled down and had a pretty good effort for the rest of his time on the mound. During his six innings, he allowed those first inning runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“Every time we take the field, we want to win the game and so it’s always frustrating when you lose the game,” said Suarez speaking through an interpreter. “It doesn’t matter who we lose against, doesn’t matter if its early in the season or late in the season or what’s at stake, so the only thing we can do is hope we win tomorrow.”
The Phillies take the field against the Orioles tonight at 7:05p.m.