Without a perfect game to divert attention, the Phillies' miserable offensive ineptitude was back on center stage Sunday afternoon in South Florida as the team was shut out for the fifth time in eight games by Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez and three relievers. (And were it not for Cameron Maybin's misplay last night, who knows; maybe it would be six of eight, and Roy Halladay's perfection a historical footnote when he left after nine or ten innings.) The Phils managed just four hits, two by Shane Victorino, as they fell to 2-4 on a road trip that continues tomorrow in Atlanta--where the Braves pitchers must be getting that funny feeling just thinking about what they're about to enjoy.
Jamie Moyer was today's hard-luck loser, allowing just one run in six very strong innings of work. While Moyer's run of ridiculous dominance against the Marlins seems to come to a definitive end--today was his fourth straight loss to Florida, dating back to last season--he was more than good enough to deserve career win number 264 today, holding the Fish to just four hits and two walks. The run scored with two outs in the sixth, when Phillie-killer Ronnie Paulino guessed right on a full-count fastball and hooked it between Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to score Hanley Ramirez from second. I'll admit to commenting "game over" at that point; if you watched, you know why. David Herndon worked two solid innings of relief to keep the game theoretically close.
To be fair, Sanchez was legitimately good--better than Mike Pelfrey when he shut out the Phils, probably at least comparable to the other three recent blankings (all of which exercises in misery I was fortunate enough to see little or none of). He allowed just three hits and three walks, two intentional to Ryan Howard, in 6 2/3 innings. Jayson Werth had one of the worst games of his career, twice striking out after Howard got free passes and looking at a called third from Clay Hensley with two out and men at the corners in the eighth inning to complete his golden sombrero. Leo Nunez worked a scoreless ninth--admittedly, against Ben Francisco, Juan Castro and pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez, but still--to earn the save.
With the Braves tied at home against Pittsburgh, the Phils will go to Atlanta with an NL East lead of either a half game or a game and a half. Perhaps the expected return of Placido Polanco to the lineup will help; otherwise, Jimmy Rollins evidently is jogging again. Get well soon, guy.