So Much for Flipping the Calendar: Phillies Lose by 10 to NL's Worst Offense - NBC 10 Philadelphia

So Much for Flipping the Calendar: Phillies Lose by 10 to NL's Worst Offense

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    So Much for Flipping the Calendar: Phillies Lose by 10 to NL's Worst Offense
    CSNPhilly.com
    So much for flipping the calendar: Phillies lose by 10 to NL's worst offense

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    The Giants arrived in Philadelphia this weekend with the fewest runs scored in the National League, the fewest home runs, the lowest on-base percentage and the lowest slugging percentage.

    So, naturally, they won 10-0 and reached base 27 times (see Instant Replay).

    They entered the weekend with the worst production in the National League from the first and second spots in the batting order - a .217 batting average and .290 OBP.

    So, naturally, leadoff man Denard Span and two-hole hitter Eduardo Nunez combined to reach base 9 of 12 times.

    That's what every team, whether they're contending or slumping, is doing to the Phillies right now. Every team that draws the Phils is using them to get right.

    So much for that artificial turning-of-the-page from May to June. So much for yet another players-only meeting.

    "I'm at a loss for words. Bad way to start the month," manager Pete Mackanin said. 

    "Everybody was refreshed after the day off yesterday, starting a new month and putting everything behind us. It just was a terrible night all the way around. We walked 10 batters. Unacceptable."

    Three of those walks were of the opposing pitcher, Ty Blach, who became the first pitcher to walk three times in a game since Aaron Cook in 2009. He also became the first pitcher to bat six times in a game since Ryan Jensen in 2002, which tells you a little bit about how dominant the Giants' bats were Friday and how little resistance the Phillies offered.

    Blach allowed seven hits in the shutout, all singles. He got 19 of his 27 outs on the ground. The Phillies made quick out after quick out after quick out.

    But with wins and losses again not mattering much for a team in this city, the more worrisome signs came from Jerad Eickhoff, who just has not been the same pitcher this season. He walked a career-high five batters in 2⅔ innings and fell to 0-6 with a 5.13 ERA.

    For much of the season, Eickhoff's fastball command hasn't been there. And no matter how many knees buckle against his 12-6 curveball, he can't get away with being a one-pitch pitcher. 

    Mackanin thinks that Eickhoff's struggles have been the result of his losing some command of even the curveball, his bread and butter.

    "I think not having good command of his curveball has really flustered him," Mackanin said. "He hasn't been able to go to that pitch with the confidence that he has in the past and I think that's affected him a little bit. When you don't have your out-pitch, when you don't have good command of it, it's kind of tough to know where to go because that thing has bailed him out so many times."

    Eickhoff disagreed, saying the curveball felt good and that it just came down again to a lack of fastball command.

    "This is a game I was [headed] into thinking I could turn this thing around," Eickhoff said. "Just couldn't control my fastball. This was a very uncharacteristic game for me and that was what was frustrating."

    For the Phillies, this kind of game has become characteristic: early runs scored off their starting pitcher, a quick exit, an insurmountable lead, a lifeless offense, a lifeless crowd, a sober Mackanin in the media room.

    "I've never seen a team where a number of players - both pitchers and hitters - are in prolonged slumps," Mackanin said.

    "I was talking to a couple of [the Giants'] coaches and they said, 'Boy, we haven't been swinging the bats very well.' Well, they did tonight. That's what we need, a game like tonight. We need a series like the Marlins had against us."

    Indeed they do. Unfortunately, the Phillies won't get a chance to play the Phillies.