A.J. Burnett and Travis Wood faced off today for the Phillies and Cubs, respectively. Jim Bunning famously pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies on Father's Day during the fateful 1964 season, and on this 50th anniversary, it was inevitable that there would be reflection on that event.
As it so happened, it was Travis Wood who tried to match Bunning's achievement, though Burnett was not bad himself.
Burnett gave up 3 runs over 8 innings with no walks. It was a performance that showed why A.J. Burnett was brought to Philadelphia. The runs were singletons, with the first being a solo shot in the first by Anthony Rizzo with two outs on just the fourth pitch of the game. That solo homer turned out to be enough. Once again, it was the Phillies "offense" that let them down.
On the other side of things, Travis Wood had it going on. He also went 8 innings, giving up just 3 hits, walking 3, and whiffing 6. Wood is one of those pitchers that I don't think much about, but when he faces the Phillies, it seems like he suffocates them. Perhaps this is colored by his near no-hitter when he played with the Reds a while back.
It looked promising early when, and I know you will not believe this, Ben Revere worked a walk to lead things off in the first inning. A walk! Really! After Jimmy Rollins lined out, Chase Utley and Marlon Byrd struck out to close things out. That was about the best thing the Phillies had going until the sixth inning.
The Cubs scored again in the third on a Justin Ruggiano single, a wild pitch by Burnett, a ground out, and a single by Starlin Castro. The Phillies went in order during the second, third, and fourth innings, getting relief only when Carlos Ruiz walked in the fifth, but they got right back in the saddle and made three more consecutive outs to get back on track. The Cubs got their last run in the sixth on doubles by Starlin Castro and Nate Schierholtz.
The Phillies did not get a hit until Revere singled in the sixth. Rollins followed that up with a single, generating the best threat of the day so far. With one out (Burnett struck out to start the inning) the Phillies popped up twice to go gently into that good afternoon.
On the bright side, they were not the victims of a no-hitter. Again. I feel like this team could be no-hit on any given day.
Bright spots continued to be the pitching, as Burnett was good. Not great but good. Ken Giles struck out 2 to close out the Cubs in the 9th inning, hitting 101 on the stadium gun. That's kind of fun. The offense was awful, though, just as it was Friday night.
With the loss, the Cubs ended up taking the series 2 games to 1. The homestand wrapped up at 4 - 2, but against the Cubs and Padres, I had hoped that the Phillies would have done better. When they are just as bad as the Cubs and the Padres, though, maybe going 4 - 2 is about as much as can be expected.
The Phillies now go into a long stretch with a bunch of games against teams with records that are over .500. It will likely affect how the Phillies approach the trade deadline. I'm not anxious to see how it goes.
Fangraph of needs Cialis: