Sorry Phillies fans…you can put away the brooms. Never mind a sweep…this was a game full of missed opportunities tonight for the Phillies. Perhaps they were all indulging in that famous Milwaukee brew before the game? The offense certainly looked drunk at the plate and the umpiring was equally horrid. The Phillies had the lead-off hitter get on base 4 innings in a row, from the 3rd through the 6th, and only came away with one run in the 6th. Many hitters looked anxious and swung too many times at first pitches and pitches out of the zone.
Jamie Moyer had a rough day as the home plate umpire did not give him any consistency and was calling balls and strikes seemingly depending on his mood. The strike zone was all over the place; an environment which does not favor Moyer’s pitching style, or anyone else’s for that matter. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the umpire was so bad, it looked like he was paid off by Bud Selig,
the MLB Commissioner who is also the previous OWNER of the Brewers and native of Milwaukee; Selig just happened to be in attendance tonight. Oh, and by the way, the MLB Commissioner essentially signs these guys pay checks. Hmmm…Food for thought. Anyway, Moyer lasted only 4 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. By the end of the 4th, Moyer had thrown 90 pitches. Clay Condrey was put in as relief in the 5th and also struggled. He gave up one run on 2 walks and a hit. Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre combined for a scoreless, although adventurous, 6th inning, but Eyre came back in for the 7th and gave up a run.
The only Phillies who appeared slightly interested in winning this game were Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. Werth was great in the field, even gunning down Corey Hart at first base as Hart singled but wandered too far off the bag. At the plate, he was 2 for 4 and scored a run. Howard had the only RBI in the game and Victorino showed his usual hustle. The rest of the group did not make productive outs, they did not swing at good pitches and in all, they left 7 men on base. The only positive I can see is that maybe, after having their collective butts kicked tonight, this will be a wake-up call for the team, especially the offense. They did win the first 2 games, but scored in only one inning in each of those wins. This has not been the explosion of offense that we all know this team is capable of. Werth, Victorino and Howard have been carrying these guys this last month and it is about time that everyone else pitched in.
The Phillies attempted a rally in the ninth, but Pedro Feliz hit into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs. Ryan Howard scored on the play. But then, the Brewers manager came out to complain that Victorino didn’t slide into second base and the umpires then took the run away and sent Howard back to 3rd! Then Carlos Ruiz proceeds to ground out for the last out of the game. So, let me just understand this – if you complain, you get a call in your favor that was NOT originally called by the umpires? Wow. That decision has to come from the ump immediately after the play; not just because a manager complained that it was not called. Not to mention, Shane DID attempt to get out of the way of the fielder – he did not interfere. According to the rules, all the runner has to do is attempt to get out of the way. You are not required to slide. That was a horrible call either way. Between this and the home plate ump’s strike zone, this was the worst umpired playoff game I have ever seen.
This 4-1 loss leaves the series record at 2-1 in favor of the Phillies, but they need to take care of business tomorrow. As much as I like attending playoff games, I’d rather not have to see the Brewers force a Game 5. Tomorrow’s game is at 1:07pm and I assume we will be starting Joe Blanton, although no official announcement has been made as of yet. These guys had better stay off the sauce and get back to form! The NLCS awaits them…all they have to do is perform to their abilities. I will be biting my nails along with all of you tomorrow afternoon. Go Phillies!
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