The Pittsburgh Pirates in less than a 24 hour period defeated the Philadelphia Phillies with their last at bat. Saturday night they defeated the Phillies in the bottom of the 10th inning. On Easter Sunday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh the Pirates this time came back from being down 4-1 in the game and defeated the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Pirates won the game, 5-4.
The Phillies leave Pittsburgh, a place where they historically have had problems winning game. They have the lowest winning percentage at PNC Park over any other major league park. Games there have been nightmares for the Phillies and those nightmares continued this weekend in the opening series of the 2012 season. The Phillies come home to Citizens Bank Park for their home opener with a 1-2 record to start the season. Philadelphia Phillies fans already are showing concerns about this team. Should they this early in the season? This team just did not generate any runs in this weekends series. Could this be a sign of things to come for the Philadelphia Phillies? They did get good starting pitching to be off to a 3-0 start. The three Phillies starting pitchers, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Vance Worley allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings. The starting pitching did what they were suppose to do. The middle relievers in this series and Sunday struggled.
Sunday's game was again lost by the Philadelphia Phillies' bullpen. David Herndon allowed a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth and than got two outs. The winning run was on third base and this is when Charlie Manual had to manage the game. He is going to have to do more managing of games in this early part of the season than he is used to doing. Charlie at the end of the day has had it kind of easy the past six seasons in Philadelphia but when called upon to make a managers move he well has made decisions which are very questionable. Charlie this season is going to have to make adjustments to the style of play that he likes his teams to play. This team offensively is going to have to generate runs, one base at a time and not with the three run homer. It is going to be Baseball 101 and what is known as small ball. Can Charlie really make that managerial adjustment that the really good manager know how to do.
Charlie Manuel will be questioned again for the final decision he made in Sunday's game. With the winning run on third base Charlie Manuel had to make a decision to pitch to the Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen or walk him. He could of even have walked him and Neil Walker to load the bases because there were two bases open and than face Rod Bargas. The Phillies coaching staff decided to pitch to McCutchen. McCutchen got down in the count 0-2 and he eventually worked it to a full count. McCutchen hit a shot to centerfield over Shane Victorino's head for the game winning hit.
The Phillies Vance Worley had pitched well. He had only pitched 78 pitches in the game but the Phillies were forced to pull him in the seventh inning to score more runs. Pitch hitter Laynce Nix came up with runners in scoring position and he could not get the job done. Juan Pierre saved the day with a base hit and two RBI's and the Phillies had a 4-1 lead which appeared to put them in control of the game. The Pirates came back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh and the Phillies lead was 4-3.
In the past two games the Phillies were not able to get to their closer Jonathon Papelbon. The Phillies right now appear to be without a power guy in their lineup and it is showing. It really does not help that their two top run producers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are on the DL. The Phillies are just going to have to survive and try to score runs. The starting pitching is going to have to continue what they did. The Phillies bats need to wake up.