05/28/10 11:54 PM EST
Offenses take back seat to Halladay, JJ
By Zach Schonbrun / MLB.com
So when Ryan Howard scored the team's first run in four games in the fourth inning against the Marlins on Friday, the Phils could finally exhale and focus on the other thing they hadn't done in a while: win.
Philadelphia's 3-2 victory over Florida snapped a five-game losing streak and stopped the chatter about the offense, which had been shut out in four of the past five games before Friday.
The Marlins understand the Phillies' slump was just that: a slump. They have the potential to snap out of it at any moment.
"That's a dangerous lineup," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We don't have to shut them out. They can score a couple of runs, but if we win the series, that's fine. That is not a lineup that you think about throwing up 27 zeros."
One thing the hitting slump has done is taken the attention away from Phillies ace Roy Halladay and his pitch totals, which had been a hot-button issue around the ballpark lately.
Halladay, who will be going for his seventh win on Saturday, leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched (77) and complete games (four), and is fourth in pitches thrown (1,105). He threw 132 pitches against the Pirates on May 18, then was roughed up in his next start on Sunday against the Red Sox (5 2/3 innings, eight hits, six earned runs, one strikeout) to take back-to-back losses.
After the game, Halladay was quick to shake off any inquiries about whether the heavy workload has begun to wear on him already.
"From the horse's mouth, it didn't affect me," Halladay said Sunday. "It was a matter of not making good pitches -- and that's the bottom line."
Halladay will match up against Marlins ace Josh Johnson in a battle of power right-handers, both of whom may be in contention for the National League Cy Young Award by the end of the season. The 6-foot-7 Johnson has gotten off to the best start of his career: 5-1 record with a 2.43 ERA, .201 opposing average and a 1.03 WHIP.
Johnson previously opposed Halladay in 2006, earning the win after 5 2/3 innings and one run allowed.
"He's the best right-hander in the game, that's what I think," Johnson said of Halladay. "He is always in the zone. I like the way he goes about his business. He doesn't necessarily want to be in the spotlight. He gets after it."
So it could be a long day for the offenses, and for Philadelphia's lineup, the continuation of a very long week.
"It's not always great for the offense, but you're not sitting around much," Johnson said of when he goes against another ace. "Nobody wants to face one of the toughest guys in the league. It's always fun to pitch against the best."
Phillies: Inactivity doesn't bother Contreras
Phillies closer Jose Contreras made his first appearance in more than a week on Friday, a long stretch for the 39-year-old reliever who's filling in for the injured Brad Lidge. Contreras came on in the ninth to pick up his third save of the year in Philadelphia's 3-2 win. Before the game, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he wasn't too concerned about Contreras' stretch of inactivity, and the opportunities to get him in the game just hadn't presented themselves recently.
"It's hard," Contreras said in Spanish before the game. "But you just have to keep working in between games, so that when they call you, just be ready."
Marlins: New relievers join corps
Florida rearranged its bullpen after Thursday's loss to Atlanta, calling up right-hander Jorge Sosa from Triple-A New Orleans and designating Dan Meyer for assignment. Meyer, who went 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 71 games last season, has a 10.80 ERA this year after walking five batters and allowing three runs in one inning Thursday. It's the third move made to the bullpen in the past two days.
Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco and right fielder Jayson Werth were both given the night off on Friday. ... Lidge will make a rehab appearance for Class A Clearwater in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday. ... The Marlins had seven hits on Friday, all singles, and lead the NL in singles with 305.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.