The Phillies took a tough loss today against the Dodgers to tie this NLCS series 1 game each. Pedro Martinez was brilliant through 7 innings where he allowed only 2 hits and no runs. You could not have asked for more out of him. But Martinez was pulled before the 8th inning in favor of a pinch-hitter and that proved to be a costly move as the bullpen could not hold down the 1-0 lead.
The pen has been the Achilles heel of this team all year. Yesterday, they pulled through; today, they did not. Manager Charlie Manuel went through five pitchers in the 8th inning and they combined to blow the lead. Chan Ho Park, who was amazing yesterday, started the inning and gave up two base hits with no outs. But it looked like he may escape the jam when Russell Martin hit an easy double play ball to third. No such luck…
In a rare and truly scary move, Chase Utley, for the second night in a row, overthrew first base which allowed the tying run to score and left 2 men on with 1 out. Last night, the slow feed from Jimmy Rollins and off-balance throw appeared to blame. But tonight, Utley just plain blew it. He rushed the throw when he had plenty of time and killed any chance Park had of getting out of the inning unscathed.
Utley is human, of course. And you cannot blame the loss on him when the only scoring the Phillies did all game was a solo homer by Ryan Howard. But it was a terrible waste of a great performance by Martinez and an even bigger waste of the opportunity to go up 2-0 in what will be a very tough series for this team.
JA Happ allowed the winning run to score for the Dodgers when he walked Andre Ethier with the bases loaded. The run was charged to Park. Chad Durbin got them out of the inning, but in the 9th, they offense went down 1-2-3. And to add insult to injury, Utley made the last out of the game by flying out to Ethier in right. I am betting that right now, Utley needs a hug; or maybe a big bowl of ice cream. Stiff drink anyone? Ugh.
This loss was depressing on a number of levels. But the good news is that we now have 3 games in Philly, starting on Sunday night. With any luck, and some sort of miracle in the bullpen, the Phillies can use the home field to get themselves back on track.
Photo by Jenn
Happy Bunny by Jim Benton
I think it’s about time someone started a support group for Cole Hamels.
How many times is this guy going to be subjected to this kind of mental abuse and torture? He pitches another great game, and his team comes up short AGAIN. Seriously…get the man some counseling. He is going to need it. 7 innings, 5 hits and only 2 earned runs – in any game, that should equal a win. But not with the Phillies; their bats went quiet again and even the bullpen managed to chip in and blow this one. Poor Cole…denied win #10 for the 7th time this year.
And how about that offense? 6 lousy hits, one of which was a solo home run from Chase Utley and another hit was from Hamels. Sad. And did we even use our BEST pinch hitter in this game, Greg Dobbs? Nooooooo…Charlie Manuel let Eric Bruntlett, “Mr. Automatic Easy Ground Ball”, bat in the 9th with a man in scoring position! And guess what happened? An easy ground ball for an out without even advancing the runner! Shocking, I know. I mean, if you are going to insist on starting Bruntlett (which again, I protest…Dobbs is better!), then you can at least have brains enough to hit for him in these situations! And then, another great management decision; let’s take Burrell out of the game again for defensive reasons! So who gets the crucial last play of the game? So “I can’t throw to save my life” Taguchi. And yes, there is a play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth…Andre Ethier singles to score Russell Martin and win the game; Taguchi’s throw is late and off-line, thus the Phillies have no shot at a comeback. But hey, I guess Manuel figured they can’t hit anyway, so why bother?
Does anyone else feel my frustration here? Oh gee, I almost forgot the bullpen…what happened to my super-awesome, adorably cute Chad Durbin? Oh please, don’t make me say bad things about him! My inner demons are right now having a war amongst themselves…it’s getting’ ugly in there! Oh, but I so love Mr. Durbin! What in the world was he thinking last night? He loads the bases on a hit, a walk and a hit batter in the 8th, which eventually leads to the tying run scoring on a sac fly …yuck! And JC Romero too, hitting the first batter? Did someone drug them? Yeah, that must have been it…I choose to believe it was all a terrorist act. Someone drugged our bullpen and made them do BAD, BAD things. And when I find out who it is, there will be no mercy. J
I am exhausted. Let’s all just hope the Phillies can rebound and pull out a win tonight behind newbie, Joe Blanton. Fingers & toes are crossed…