Game one of today’s doubleheader against the Mets was highlighted by a superb performance from Cole Hamels, more crappy offense and a failure of basic math skills. Hamels went seven strong innings, allowing just a solo homer. Sadly, the homer was hit by Val Pascucci who had not hit a long ball since 2004. Pascucci spent 2008 spring training with the Phillies.
The Phillies offense sucked again against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. I am not sure what the R.A. stands for, but I am going with “Really Annoying.” Mr. Annoying had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning when Shane Victorino finally ended the humiliation with a double.
Before that, the only base runner for the Phillies was Carlos Ruiz who worked a walk in the 6th, although the home plate umpire tried really hard not to allow it. On ball 4, Ruiz trotted to first as ump John Hirschbeck called him back, swearing it was only ball 3. Everyone else in the ballpark had apparently passed 1st grade math and knew it was ball 4. The umps actually had to hold a meeting to convince Hirschbeck that he sucked at basic math. It was yet another shiny, happy moment for MLB umpires everywhere.
Moving on, Ryan Howard played in his first game since having a cortisone shot in his left ankle. He singled in that same inning to score Victorino, which was the only offense in the game for the Phillies. Howard also made a sliding grab on a foul ball where his right foot smashed into the wall along the first base line. The right foot…not the left…whew!
After that little adventure, Brad Lidge gave up the go-ahead run to the Mets in the 8th, spoiling the day for Hamels. The Phillies took a 2-1 loss for their seventh straight. This team is giving me a headache.
But why stop there? More sucky baseball was yet to follow. In game 2 of the doubleheader, Joe Blanton pitched two good innings to start off, giving the false illusion that the Phillies might actually have a shot to win a game.
David Herndon quickly tried to stomp on all our hopes of a positive evening when he put two runners on base in the 3rd. However, a long fly ball with two outs looked liked the savior of the inning. But Hunter Pence put a quick end to that silly dream as he dropped the ball and two runs scored.
Pence was already having a bad day in his first start since being rested with knee issues. In the first inning, he hit into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded. The Phillies did not score.
As the 3rd inning disaster continued, Herndon walked another batter and Kyle Kendrick had to be brought in. Kendrick did little to help the situation, giving up two straight hits and 3 more runs. The total for the inning was 5 unearned runs gift wrapped for the Mets. And all that happened right after the Phils offense scratched and clawed for 3 runs combined in the 2nd and 3rd innings.
Kendrick, not having sucked badly enough, gave up one more run in the 4th, making those 3 Phillies runs seem totally useless. The 6-3 lead handed to the Mets would stick for the final score as the offense basically gave up after that horrid 3rd inning.
The Phillies have now lost 8 straight since clinching the division title. But these games don’t count, right? Some fans says, no worries, it does not count. Other say that bad baseball can become a habit, which will be heard to break going into the playoffs. So, after sucking pretty badly this past week, can the Phillies just flip the switch come playoff time next Saturday? There are four regular season games left, so I guess only time will tell.
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Howard photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Happy Bunny by Jim Benton