Friday, August 15, 2003

A Return to South Philadelphia

Shallow Center's self-styled Washington correspondent points out that there have been no Phillies-related posts since last weekend's unlikely win in San Francisco. He wonders if it's because they actually lost a game to the lowly Brewers at the Vet this week.

Well, no, the real reason is that I spent most of the week trying to get the site's new look right. Coincidentally, though, I was already planning on posting a few thoughts on the Milwaukee series, so this one's for you, D.C.

Specifically, the three games strike me as a microcosm of the Phillies' season. The wretched Game 1 loss, marked by No. 5 starter Brandon Duckworth's lousy effort, one which cost him his job in the rotation, went down very poorly. The offense exploded in Game 2, with Jim Thome crashing two homers and leading the Phils to the easy win. And last night, the Fightin's got just enough offense to supplement Randy Wolf's outstanding start and a nice job by the bullpen, especially Turk Wendell, to secure the series with a 4-3 win.

Inconsistent offense, generally good pitching, and sloppiness out of the bottom of the rotation. You want to know why the Phillies are out of the division race and locked in a wild card race? Check out the series against the Brewers and you'll have your answer.

Mrs. Shallow Center accompanies me to the Vet tonight for the opening game of an important three-game set against the Cardinals. St. Louis is in a doozy of a race with Chicago and Houston in National League Central, and whoever doesn't win the division will be battling the Phillies, Marlins, and Diamondbacks for the N.L. wild card slot. Scott Rolen and J.D. Drew always draw the attention when they return to Philadelphia, but as the Inky's Jim Salisbury points out, the Cards' real attraction is the inhuman Albert Pujols, who in less than three seasons has established himself as arguably baseball's most dangerous hitter. Look for a report tomorrow.


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