Thursday, August 21, 2003

You Can Not Be Serious!

I'm not one to channel John McEnroe, but it's simply impossible for a Major League Baseball team to lose two straight games to the Milwaukee Brewers. Yet the Phillies, the playoff-contending Phillies, with their two best starters on the hill, have dropped a pair to the awful Brew Crew at Miller Park. It's an extraordinarily inauspicious start to a vicious road trip that has the team away from the Vet for two weeks, and without a day off for nearly a month.

On Tuesday, with Kevin Millwood starting, the Phillies battled back from an early deficit to tie the game in the eight, but failed to grab the lead despite loading the bases with no outs. In the bottom half of the inning, pinch-hitter Mark Smith (all together now -- who?) crashed his first homer in nearly two years, a three-run shot that put the Brewers up for good. Final score, 6-4

Last night, Randy Wolf was hammered for seven runs on seven hits in four and a third innings, and the Phillies left a staggering 18 men on base in a 10-1 loss.

It's been a season-long conundrum: How can the team that looked so balanced and professional in sweeping the Cardinals be the same squad that can't get out if its own way against Little League-level Milwaukee? Damned if I know, but if they don't figure it out, Larry Bowa & Co. will be pulling out their 7-irons sooner than they hoped.

Luckily for the Phils, the Marlins are on a tough trip of their own, the dreaded Colorado-San Francisco swing (followed by three games against the Bucs at PNC Park). The Rockies did the Phillies a favor by pummeling Florida twice, so the Phils retain their half-game wild-card lead. For now.


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