Astros rout Phillies as pitchers struggle

Posted by Kevin Durso

Pat Misch pitches to Astro hitters during the Phillies' 10-3 loss to the Astros. (Frank Klose/Philliedelphia)

The final piece of the starting rotation made his debut today, and after watching the rest of the expected rotation perform without a problem, Vance Worley's first start didn't go as expected.

Worley allowed a first-inning run on an RBI groundout by J.D. Martinez. In the second, he would allow another run on an RBI single by Jason Castro.

Worley finished with two innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and no strikeouts. He was in his first game action experimenting with a split-finger changeup that Roy Halladay had taught him at the start of Spring Training, which may have contributed to some of his command issues. Jayson Stark tweeted that Worley wants to add a splitter and curveball to his repertoire knowing that hitters can adjust.

Meanwhile, the Phillies couldn't seem to solve Bud Norris, who allowed just one walk to the Phillies in three innings pitched.

In the fourth, the Astros just kept piling things on. A deep fly ball to right stayed in the park, but was an RBI double for Jordan Schafer. With two outs and a chance to escape the inning with just a run allowed, a routine grounder to third was thrown away by Kevin Frandsen, allowing two more runs to score. J.D. Martinez would add an RBI double to cap a four-run inning.

Pat Misch pitched the third and fourth, and allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits, walking one and striking out one.

Jonathan Papelbon came on to pitch the fifth and worked around a couple of baserunners, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two and making a nice grab on the mound to end a scoreless inning.

Dontrelle Willis came in for the sixth and allowed another run, J.D. Martinez picked up his third RBI of the game on a double. Two more runs scored on a two-run single by Diory Hernandez. Willis allowed four runs on three hits, while walking two with no strikeouts in 2/3 of an inning. B.J. Rosenberg allowed an RBI single to Carlos Corporan to cap a four-run inning.

Rosenberg would add a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day. Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless eighth. Mike Stutes pitched a perfect ninth.

In the eighth, the Phillies finally managed to crack the scoreboard. A two-out walk by Freddy Galvis was followed by a double for Scott Podsednik. Both scored on an RBI double by Lou Montanez. Hector Luna added a solo home run in the ninth. But that was all the Phillies could manage in a 10-3 loss to the Astros.

The pitching struggled mightily in this one. Worley wasn't horrendous, and it was his debut, but he was not matching up to the pitcher he was last year. Aside from that, the only pitchers who managed to avoid trouble were Papelbon, Qualls and Stutes.

The offense, meanwhile, only managed five hits. Shane Victorino and Erik Kratz each singled, while Scott Podsednik and Lou Montanez doubled. Luna added the longball late.

The Phillies are back in action tomorrow from Clearwater when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole Hamels is expected to make his second start of the spring.

Kevin Durso is a contributor to @Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.