Quiet bats, Worley miscue doom Phils in defeat
Vance Worley made the pitch he wanted. He just didn’t get the result he wanted.
“It was down, and I had him out front, leaning a little,” he said. “It was a good pitch.”
It was a good pitch, and Rockies infielder Chris Nelson slammed it through the steamy South Philly sky and over the left-center field wall to turn a Worley gem into another disappointing Phillies’ loss.
With one pitch, a three-hit shutout slipped away, and Worley’s night was over.
Nelson’s two-run homer on Worley’s 106th of 108 pitches and a ninth-inning two-run, two-out insurance shot by catcher Wilin Rosario off Michael Schwimer led the Rockies to a 4-1 win over the Phillies Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park and prevented the Phils from sweeping a series of three games or more for the first time this year (see Instant Replay)
“The ball kept carrying,” Worley said. “I was kind of disgusted. To go this far into a game and this is what happens? Put the ball where I wanted. What can you do?”
The win was only the Rockies’ second in their last 14 games.
Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a home run, and the Phillies didn’t score again. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and twice failed to score after getting leadoff doubles.
After the game, Shane Victorino was asked about the missed opportunity in failing to sweep a team that was 17 games under .500, 15 games out of first place in the NL West and 4-22 in its last 26 games against the Phillies.
“Seems like you guys always want to bring up the negative stuff every night,” Victorino said.
Then he ended the interview, barked out, “I’m over it,” and walked away yelling, “Freaking negative.”
Phils manager Charlie Manuel said he probably would have gone to his bullpen with two outs and the tying run on second in the seventh had a lefty batter been coming up.
But with Nelson, a seven-hole hitter hitting .246 and .187 against righties, he stuck with Worley.
“I like him there,” he said. “We had two outs, he’s throwin’ a shutout, we’re winning the game 1-0. He still had enough left. It wasn’t like he was tired or anything.”
Worley fell to 3-4 despite allowing just four hits and two runs in seven innings. In four starts since he came off the disabled list after being diagnosed with bone chips in his elbow, he’s winless but with a 2.25 ERA.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said. “But I still went out there and competed.”
That’s more than the offense did.
After scoring 14 runs in winning the first two games of the series, the Phils reverted to their old ways at the plate, flailing away at a bunch of off-speed stuff from Rockies lefty Jeff Francis, a one-time 17-game winner now trying to revive his career after years of arm trouble.
Although the win went to Josh Roenicke, the second of four Colorado relievers, Francis worked five effective innings, allowing nothing after J-Roll’s leadoff homer in the first.
Francis beat the Phillies in Game 1 of the Rockies-Phillies divisional playoff series in 2007. He’s won 15 games since.
“He’s not overpowering like he used to be,” Victorino said. “But he hits his spots. You tip your hat to him.”
The Phils managed two hits and no runs against the Rockies’ bullpen. But it was Francis who gave the Rockies a chance to win.
“We’ve been hitting the ball better, but Francis took the sting out of our bats ... and we couldn’t score after the first,” Manuel said. “Francis, he was throwing a lot of breaking balls and off-speed stuff and keeping us off-balance. Sinkers away, and we were chasing them.
“J-Roll led off the game with a homer, and after that we didn’t score. ... Tonight I felt we were going to score some runs off Francis. He’s on a rehabbing-his-arm deal. But we didn’t get the big hit off him.”
They had plenty of chances.
John Mayberry led off the second with a double, and Ty Wigginton led off the eighth with a double, but the Phils couldn’t figure out a way to get either of them home.
With one out and first and third in the second, Rollins popped up to first. He also hit into a 6-4-3 double play with one out and a runner on first in the seventh.
“Any time you lead off an inning with a double ...” Victorino said, not finishing the sentence. “We didn’t execute like we needed to.”
With the Nationals beating the Rays in Washington, the Phillies fell back to nine games out in the NL East.
They’re 33-38 with 91 games left in the season. Manuel said before the game he thinks 88 wins will be enough for an NL wild card.
For the Phils to get to 88, they’d have to go 55-36 the rest of the season. That’s .604 baseball.
They better start soon.
“Tampa’s coming in here [for a three-game series starting Friday],” Manuel said. “Hopefully, we’ll play much better.”