05/05/2013 8:00 PM ET
Phillies can't shake offensive funk vs. Fish
By Paul Hagen / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The news that Roy Halladay is likely headed for the disabled list with shoulder problems all but obscured another piece of bad news for the Phillies in Sunday's 14-2 loss to the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
Their offense continues to take an unexcused absence.
After they were shut out on one hit Saturday night, the Phillies were content to credit Marlins starter Jose Fernandez. On Sunday, however, they got only two hits in seven innings against right-hander Kevin Slowey and just four overall. Slowey earned his first win since Sept. 18, 2010.
"Let me tell you something," said manager Charlie Manuel. "I sit there and watch our guys. When the game starts, we're up and ready to play. Then we have trouble scoring runs and hitting the ball consistently. And we're going to struggle until we start hitting the ball better and making better contract. Yeah, we're going to struggle. We've got to come out and get runners on base and hit the ball.
"And I'll say this: With the lineup we've got, we'd better get some extra-base hits. Because we're not getting a whole lot out of our speed right now."
The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in 18 of their 32 games this season and have been shut out five times in their last 19 games. When the Phillies broke a 20-inning scoreless streak with a pair of cosmetic runs in the eighth, what remained of the sellout crowd of 45,276 responded with mock cheers.
Durbin confident despite slow start to season
PHILADELPHIA -- Chad Durbin is well aware that his ERA was at 7.00 going into Sunday's game. How could he not be? His wife, Crystal, brought it up. So did his friends. They've all pointed to that unsightly number and ask what's wrong.
Which is funny because Durbin swears he wouldn't have known unless everybody kept bringing it up.
"I don't really look. My wife and friends pointed out that I had that. That's the only reason I know what the [heck] it is," the 35-year-old reliever said. "I usually don't look until it's on the baseball card. At the end of the year, I'm like, 'OK, cool, I have this.' Because up to that point, it doesn't matter. Relievers, I think, that's probably the worst stat we can possibly look at.
"I know guys who get 35 holds and have a 4 1/2 [ERA] and people say he had a so-so year. No, in the games that really mattered, he was really, really good. So it is what it is. I'm healthy. I feel good."
One thing to keep in mind is that April has traditionally been Durbin's worst month. His career ERA in the first month is 6.33.
"It takes him a little bit longer than most guys to control his adrenaline and control his arm path," said pitching coach Rich Dubee. "He gets real deep behind and real long and he doesn't catch up and he's made some mistakes up in the zone. So we're trying to control his arm path and we're trying to control his adrenaline so he can command his stuff better."
Another is that Durbin came ever so close to bucking that trend this season. Going into the final day of the month, he had a 3.52 ERA. That night, at Cleveland's Progressive Field, he gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings, including homers to Ryan Rayburn and Michael Brantley.
"The pitch Rayburn hit was a first-pitch cutter," Durbin said. "If guys hit first pitches that are strikes out of the park, I'll tip my cap. And the Brantley pitch was just down a hair. It was on the corner. So, to be honest, I'll have a seven for the rest of my life if that's the way it goes."
Before that game, Durbin had made six straight appearances without allowing a run. And while it's true that a half dozen inherited runners scored in that span, he was also coming into situations that weren't in the preseason blueprint.
"Unfortunately, kind of the way we're set up, he got into a lot of tough situations early," Dubee said. "We're trying to find some easier spots for him to get his feet on the ground and get into a comfort zone."
Durbin remains confident his numbers will be where they should be when that baseball card is printed this winter.
"My body's in shape," he said. "The mind's in shape. There's not much to that."
After giving up two runs -- one earned -- in 1 2/3 innings of Sunday's 14-2 loss to Miami, his ERA was down to 6.75.
Frandsen excited to face original team in SF
PHILADELPHIA -- At one time or another, Kevin Frandsen has played against every team in the National League. Except one. The one that he grew up rooting for. The one he originally signed with. The San Francisco Giants.
That could change as early as Monday night when the Phillies open a three-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park. And, yes, it will mean a lot to him.
"No doubt it's special," Frandsen said. "It was my favorite team growing up. The team that drafted you. The team that helped me through a lot of personal stuff with my brother [D.J., who passed away in 2006 after a long battle with cancer]. I have a lot of close family friends that are over there. So it means a lot. My opportunity came up with them. They gave me a shot to get to the big leagues. Not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for that."
He recalls his friendship with Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and former teammates Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey and Barry Zito. He recalls the special kindnesses of longtime clubhouse manager Mike Murphy and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschener and his staff.
"It gives me chills every time I think about [Murphy]," Frandsen said. "That man did a lot for me. He treated me like I was his grandson. And [Groeschener] and the whole training staff there. Because they got me healthy. They did everything possible to make me healthy again after I blew out my Achilles. They went out of their way on a lot of things and just worked, worked, worked for me, even though I was young and hadn't established myself yet. They spent all that time with me. I'm just so grateful for what they've done for me and my family."
So he'll have nothing but good thoughts for the Giants. Until the first pitch, of course.
"I just want to beat the [heck] out of them. That's all I care about," Frandsen said with a laugh.
• Coming into this season, Roy Halladay had pitched fewer than four innings only three times in 90 starts as a Phillie. It's happened four times in seven starts this year.
• Halladay is only the second Phillies pitcher to allow eight or more earned runs in back-to-back starts since 1938. Mike Welch did it in 1998. Halladay's combined 17 runs in consecutive starts is a career high.
• Halladay allowed at least five runs in the first inning for the first time since April 29, 1999, against the Angels at Anaheim, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
• The Phillies are 5-15 when Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee start this season, and 9-3 with Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Jonathan Pettibone on the mound.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.