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Things still going bad for Phillies


Things still going bad for Phillies
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel emphasized during his pre-game chat that Baseball is a game in which "you go good and you go bad."

Right now, the Phillies , especially the pitching staff, don't have much going good, but they've certainly got the bad taken care of.

The starting five (combined 7.57 ERA) top the list. Reliever Ryan Madson started climbing the ranks with Friday and Saturday's outings. And, after what happened Saturday, closer Brad Lidge may be joining them.

Madson gave up four earned runs in his last two innings and Lidge blew his first save since Sept. 23, 2007, after saving 54 in a row and the Phillies lost 8-5 to the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

"As a whole, and individually, I don't think we're pitching our best right now," Lidge said.

Lidge came on in the top of the ninth with the Phillies leading 5-4. But it was rough from the start.

Jody Gerut doubled to center, moved to third on David Eckstein's groundout and scored when Brian Giles hit a hard roller to first baseman Ryan Howard.

"For a minute, I thought [Howard] might throw home," Lidge said. "But then I saw he was playing back and I knew I had to get over there [to cover first base]."

When Gerut crossed home plate to tie the game at 5, that officially ended Lidge's streak, but drew applause from the crowd.

"You're normally not happy with a situation like that, but it made me feel good when they were cheering," Lidge said. "But I still wasn't happy about the end result."

Lidge, who had saved 47 consecutive regular-season games and seven in the 2008 postseason, said he feels fine mechanically, but is having some issues with his fastball and slider, the pitch he's known for.

"My fastball command is pretty poor," he admitted. "I'm not hitting my spots. And I left a couple sliders up. It's a little inconsistent. But I don't think I'm very far off with it at all. I just feel like the break on it is a little inconsistent."

After the Padres tied it up, Lidge gave up back-to-back free passes. Then Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a long home run on a 2-0 pitch to left-center field, giving San Diego a three-run lead.

That's when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel yanked him.

"I've seen him have the bases loaded and nobody out and get out of it," Manuel said. "[But] if he didn't blow one, I don't think he'd be human."

Madson, a rock as the club's setup man last year, has scuffled lately, especially in his last two outings. He's allowed five hits, two walks and four earned runs in a pair of innings.

"I feel like walks got our bullpen in trouble," Manuel said. "We just got to get our pitching together."

The offense, especially Jimmy Rollins, could use a tune-up, too.

Although the Phillies showed off some power Saturday by hitting three home runs, the rest of their hitting was average at best. They were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. They went down in order three times, including the ninth, and they struck out seven times.

Rollins, the team's leadoff man, was 1-for-5 Saturday and has yet to have a multi-hit game.

Manuel won't let himself get too worried about his catalyst just yet.

"Jimmy's timing is off," Manuel said. "I noticed [Friday] night and I said something to him. I noticed that he's striding and kind of leaning forward and his hands are coming to the side, like he's pushing the ball. And he'll get his swing. It's coming."

amanda.housenick@mcall.com

610-820-6187

Padres 8

Phillies 5


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 21, 2009

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