In Vance Worley's first career start, his Phillies could only muster one hit through 8 innings against Adalberto Mendez in his first major league appearance. While Mendez was forced to leave the game after straining his quad running out a base hit, he held the Phils scoreless through 6, the only blemish a weak base hit from Brian Schneider. As is the case with most rookie pitchers, the Phillies couldn't figure him out, striking out 6 times and getting under too many low-90's fastballs, on their way to their second loss in a row.
Worley struggled early on, walking Logan Morrison and after a wild pitch and a Dan Uggla gork, scoring the first run of the game. After a served-up fastball to Chad Tracy for his first home run of the season, the Long Beach State product settled in to the tune of 5 innings, 6 hits, one walk, and 5 strikeouts. He was pulled for a pinch-hitting Domonic Brown, who promptly struck out to end the inning. I liked what I saw from Worley, his secondary stuff was definitely major league average and with some work on his command, he can turn himself into a solid number 4 starter. Check Phuture Phillies for a more detailed recap of Worley's day.
While V-Dub left the Phils in a position to win the ball game, the same can't be said for the relievers. David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo worked out of trouble, but Chad Durbin allowed a bomb to super-prospect Mike Stanton and Mike Zagurski decided to inflate his Hit By Pitch numbers, surrendering the final 3 runs to cap the Marlins day at 7 runs in. Nate Robertson also came in to record the last out after a Stanton infield single plated a Fish.
On the offensive side it was ugly. Save for a Ryan Howard double and Jayson Werth base hit in the ninth inning, the Phillie bats were putrid once again. It looked like another one-hitter was on the horizon, what would have been the fourth this season, before Howard crushed a piped fastball off the right field wall. Jimmy Rollins got the day off but still managed to go 0-2 including the last out in replacing Wilson Valdez. The top three of the order, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley, combined for exactly zero hits, continuing the trend of non-existent production from the top of the lineup.
Thanks to a Neil Walker home run, the Braves lost to the Pirates (who are 46 games under .500, just so you know) and the Phils keep pace in the division with a chance to cut the lead to a half a game with a win in the nightcap of this doubleheader. Undefeated since his trade from Houston, Roy Oswalt opposes Anibal Sanchez, who sports a 5.20 ERA against the Phillies in his career. Game time 7:05 EST.