Well, there went five hours of my life I wish to forget. The Phillies said goodbye to SunLife Stadium in Miami today with a gut-wrenching 14-inning 5-4 loss to the Marlins, played under protest from the Phillies. It was another wasted Roy Halladay start.
The big controversy began when umpire Joe West decided to make up the rules as he went along. In the 6th inning, Hunter Pence hit a double that should have left the Phillies with two men on base and no outs. Instead, West decided to use instant replay on a ball that he himself ruled a double. Replay, according to the baseball rules, is only to be used on potential home runs.
West came back after 13 minutes of “reviewing” and ruled Pence out due to fan interference. While those idiot fans did attempt to interfere, the play should not have been reviewable in the first place. The other problem is that West assumed the ball would have been caught had the fans not intruded. But on the video replay, it is far from a sure thing that outfielder Bryan Petersen would have caught it. In fact, his glove was already closed by the time the ball reached him.
The Phillies then announced a formal protest of the game and manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing. After the game, Manuel stated the same point, that the ball would not have been caught (per Ryan Lawrence, DelCo Times). West claims Manuel asked for a replay; Manuel sternly denies this.
So now it is a game of he said (Manuel), she said (West, running from the press afterwards ;o). If MLB determines that a rule was broken by West, the game could be restarted with the Pence double at a later date. But seriously, odds of that happening are like ZERO. MLB has refused to hold umpires accountable for anything and I do not see that changing now, sad as that may be.
The rally was killed after that call, but the Phillies did score two runs on a Ryan Howard single in the 7th to take the lead. That lead was promptly erased as rookie Michael Schwimer got tossed into the fire at the bottom of the 7th. I feel sorry for Schwimer; this was not a situation where a rookie should have been sent in to hold a slim 4-3 lead after all the drama of the previous inning. The pressure had to be immense and Schwimer wound up giving up the tying run.
What happened next is what the Phillies should really be ashamed of. They played seven straight innings of scoreless baseball, dragging the game through 14 innings. As a team, the Phillies left 11 men on base, went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and totaled only 10 hits in 14 innings.
Worse than that, the bullpen kept them in the game and the offense did nothing to support them. The biggest victim was David Herndon, who imploded on Saturday night and handed the game to the Marlins. But tonight, he pitched almost four full innings with an amazing effort. He worked in and out of jams and kept pitching tough even as he tired. Herndon escaped bases loaded jams twice, five intentional walks and a badly fielded ball at third that would have shortened his outing.
Still, Herndon persisted and redeemed himself from Saturday’s disaster. That his offense could not score him one single run during all that was ridiculous. Chase Utley went 0-for-7; Pence ended 0-for-6, although he was robbed of a double; Shane Victorino had only one hit and a walk in six at-bats. And most of that was against the Marlins sub-par bullpen. Yuck :O(
The game ended with another bases loaded jam for Herndon who walked the winning run in just as his arm was about to fall off. And that happened after some questionable calls from the home plate ump who seemed to decided that 14 innings were enough for him.
While all that really sucked…a lot…tomorrow is a new day and the Braves are coming to town. These next three days are the time for the Phillies to drop the hammer on the NL East. So perhaps the offense tonight was saving up the hits for the Braves? Hope so….game 1 begins at 7:05pm Monday night!
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Herndon Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography, West photo by MLB.com