I told you these weren't the Phillies of old.
No Ryan Howard. No Chase Utley. Jimmy Rollins hitting .216. The only offense provided by Ty Wigginton.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were putting together solid performances on both the pitching and hitting sides of the ledger Friday night and defeated the Phillies 5-1. Who's this Roy Halladay guy anyway and why do people think he's so great? Six career starts against the Cubs, and the Cubs have won five of those games.
Truth be told, Halladay was actually very good Friday night until Tony Campana slid safely into first base on a drag bunt, for the Cubs' first hit. He eventually scored, and then singled and scored again later in the game. Campana appears to have raised his game since last year. He's drawn only one walk, but has worked counts better. He still doesn't have an extra-base hit, but that really doesn't matter, as he's reached scoring position under his own power five times via the stolen base in the eight times he's been on base.
Starlin Castro also stole a base off Halladay and would have had another one if his hand didn't slip off third base after he had successfully beaten a throw there.
Paul Maholm put together his second straight solid start, again allowing just one run and pitching into the seventh inning for the first time in 2012. The only run he allowed was the home run to Wigginton; clearly tiring then, he was lifted for James Russell.
Russell gave up a pair of hits but got out of the inning unscathed. In fact, he got out of the inning in reality long before he threw his 16th pitch; he had John Mayberry struck out, but plate umpire C.B. Bucknor kept calling balls on pitches that were clearly in the strike zone. Bucknor has been a bad umpire for many, many years. Why they don't replace him is beyond me. We can laugh about this, or ignore it right now, because the Cubs won the game, but we're hardly the only fans to notice how incompetent this umpire is.
When the Cubs scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, Dale Sveum opted to leave Rafael Dolis -- who had thrown only eight pitches in the eighth -- in the game instead of bringing in Carlos Marmol (who was warmed up and ready). Good for you, Dale. Many managers would have brought a guy like Marmol in anyway, just because he was ready. Dolis finished the game without incident, for his first major league save (since he entered the game in a save situation in the eighth and finished).
The only discordant note from Friday night was the news that Steve Clevenger is headed to the disabled list after feeling "tightness in his side" during batting practice Friday night. Welington Castillo will be activated Saturday, and I'd expect him to get about as much playing time as Clevenger was getting -- a couple of starts a week, maybe more if he hits.
These Phillies aren't what they used to be. Maybe this four-game series isn't as much of a mismatch as some might have thought. It continues tonight with Randy Wells facing Joe Blanton.