Offensive woes continue as Phillies drop finale in Chicago

Nick Pivetta and Phillies fell to Cubs
Think what you want of the slide or surrender ruling yesterday at the plate, but the Phillies lost Thursday's contest because of 12 strikeouts and 13 runners left on base.

Oh yeah, 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position was a problem too.

The Phillies dropped the series finale with the Cubs at Wrigley Field, 4-3, and finished their 10-game road trip with three wins. It was a terrible jaunt west and leaves the club just four games over .500.

Things don't get easier on Friday either, as the club welcomes the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers to Citizens Bank Park. The Brew Crew enters Friday with the best record in the National League.

The Phillies had plenty of opportunities on Thursday. Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood surrendered four hits, walked seven, and found himself in bases-loaded jams twice, yet the Phillies couldn't capitalize.

"There's no question we can do a better job," manager Gabe Kapler said Thursday. "It's not for lack of effort. It's not for lack of preparation. It's not for lack of understanding what the opposing pitchers' game plans are. We just haven't executed in those situations." (source: MLB.com)

Nick Pivetta pieced together a pedestrian performance, allowing four runs over five innings, but he struck out six.

The Cubs scored what turned out to be the winning run on a controversial play in the fifth as Anthony Rizzo flew out to left and Albert Almara Jr. tagged up and scored after it was deemed Phillies' catcher Andrew Knapp illegally blocked the plate.

"The ruling at the plate I understood," Kapler said. "I watched the replay several times and I thought the ball took Knappy toward the plate. It's a judgment call. I understand it's a very difficult call to make." (source: MLB.com)

Vince Velasquez will be on the mound for the Phillies Friday as the club aims to turn things around with a six-game homestand. The Brewers counter with righty Jhoulys Chacin.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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