One out away from sweeping the Braves, the Phillies blew it in the 9th last night. One lousy out and closer Jonathan Papelbon could not get it done. Worse, the Phillies allowed a 6 run lead to slip away in a game they should have won. Instead, the 8-7 walk-off loss may haunt the Phillies for some time to come.
There are certain things in life, and in baseball, that should just never happen. Blowing a 6-run lead is one of those things. It is unnatural. It is simply contrary to the laws nature.
And now the Phillies, who may have had a small amount of playoff hope with the momentum of a sweep, are even more clearly out of the race. What team that blows a 6-run lead this late in the year has even a remote shot at making the playoffs? None that I am aware of.
So another Cole Hamels start goes to waste as does another 3-hit game from John Mayberry Jr. The Phillies are now in Cincinnati playing the Reds. Pitcher Tyler Cloyd is making only the 2nd start of his short major league career. Best of luck to him!
In other news, pitcher’s Jake Diekman and Justin DeFratus have both joined the team as September call-ups. They should be available out of the bullpen in this series.
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Papelbon photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
My mother had a saying: “If not for bad luck, you would not have any luck at all.” I am sorry to say that I now need to pass that sentiment down to Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee. Can this poor guy get a break already?
Lee’s misfortunes have certainly not all been out of his own control. But it does seem like whenever he is on top of his game, the rest of the team lets him down. Did he spill the salt? Break a mirror? Walk under a ladder? Or did a black cat cross his path?
Whatever is causing the bad mojo seriously needs to stop. Lee went 8 innings against the Dodgers allowing only 2 hits and 1 run on a solo homer that probably should have been caught. And he would have kept pitching if his team had scored more than 1 run for him. But he had to be pulled for a pinch hitter.
In a game that wound up going 12 innings, the Phillies basically lost it in that first inning when John Mayberry Jr. failed to utilize his 6’6” frame to reach up and catch that home run ball which barely made it over the fence. Because the way Lee was pitching, he would have easily pitched all 9 innings and had a 1-0 win. Instead, the game went to extra innings.
And although it took them until the 10th inning, the offense finally scored some runs. The Dodgers walked the bases loaded and then Hunter Pence came through with a clutch hit for the 2nd day in a row. That singled scored 2 runs and gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead with their closer ready to come in for the bottom of the 10th.
But pitching for his 3rd consecutive day for the 1st time all year, Jonathan Papelbon could not get the job done. He gave up 2 runs allowing the Dodgers to tie the game again. This was a huge blow to the team, especially coming from a guy getting paid $50 million. This was Papelbon’s 3rd blown save of the year; all 3 occurred in the last 7 games that he had save opportunities.
Having depleted their bullpen to get this far in the game, the Phillies were left with few options. By the time the 12th rolled around, rookie Jake Diekman was forced into a second inning of work and he finally gave up a 2-run homer to hand the game to the Dodgers. Diekman is not to blame though; it was unfortunate he had to be put into that situation.
So another great performance from Lee was wasted in this 5-3 loss. The good news is that, despite this loss, the Phillies have won 2 series in a row. They have an off-day today and will return Friday to face the Giants at home.
This next home stand will probably be the determining factor on who stays and who goes before the trade deadline. The Phillies have to win both series to even have a chance. Cross your fingers…
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies scored only 22 runs in the latter half of May, from the 18th to the 31st. But in the last 4 games, the Phillies have exploded to the tune of 31 runs. Today against the Twins, they scored 9 runs, had a 5-run lead in the 8th inning, and still lost the game.
The Phillies hit five home runs in the game. Here is a recap of the first four: The usual suspects, Ryan Howard and Werth, nailed two of those homers. Not as common was a blast from Raul Ibanez, who was on base three times. Even less common was a homer from Wilson Valdez, who had his only other big league homer in 2006. Yes, 4 years ago. If Valdez can smack a homer, then the stars must really be aligning for the Phillies, right? Maybe not…
Cole Hamels got off to a bad start in the first inning, giving up 3 runs. A passed ball by catcher Brian Schneider and a bad throw to second by Hamels added fuel to the fire. But the offense immediately picked Hamels back up by getting those 3 runs right back in the bottom of the inning. Chase Utley led the way with a 2-run triple and Jayson Werth hit a sac fly to score Utley.
Every starter in the game, including Hamels, had at least one hit today. On the mound, Hamels later allowed a solo home run to Justin Morneau and ended the day with 4 runs allowed over 7 innings. If you forget about the first inning mishap, Hamels had a great day.
But, as has been a common story line this year, the Phillies bullpen blew a FIVE run lead. In the 9th inning, former-Phil, Jim Thome hit a 2-run homer off Jose Contreras. As it was then a save situation, Brad Lidge was brought into the game. And Lidge proceeded to blow the save and the remaining 3-run lead. He gave up an RBI-single and a 2-run homer to Twins catcher, Joe Mauer.
With a 9-9 tied game in the bottom of the 9th, the Phils got 2 hits but still failed to score and win the game. Howard and Werth both struck out. Chad Durbin came in for the 10th inning and as soon as I saw him on the mound, I thought, “Oh crap, he is going to give up a homer to the first batter.” Why do I think this? Because he has done it many times in the exact same situation. How many times, I do not know except to say that I have nightmares about it. Sure enough, 1st batter: homer.
The inning ended with a tag out at the plate, which normally would have been very exciting. But at that point, who cares? The Phillies are losing 9-10 with the bottom of the batting order coming up. Do you think Valdez can hit his 3rd homer in 4 years to win the game? No? Neither do I…
Valdez did not get a chance. Greg Dobbs popped out, Schneider grounded out and Ross Gload pinch hit for Valdez. Now, Gload did a homer with 2 outs to tie the game again. But again, no need to get excited because Danys Baez was going to pitch the 11th inning. Baez has been awful and today did not change that. He gave up THREE runs in the 11th just to make sure the Phillies had NO chance at a win.
The Phillies went down in the 11th. It was a pathetic end to a pathetic loss. The final score was 10-13 and the Phils now have one game left against the Twins. If Roy Halladay can get back on his game after allowing 6 runs in his last outing, the Phils could maybe salvage a series win. Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.
In other news, Carlos Ruiz will get a few days off after being nailed in the head with a broken bat while behind the plate yesterday. He will not need a trip to the DL, which is great news. Scott Mathieson was designated for assignment to make room for catcher Dane Sardinha who will back-up Schneider until Ruiz is healthy.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
I have very little to say today; Brad Lidge blew another save today as the Phillies lost to the Braves, 3-4 in what should have been a 3-2 win. Yes, the offense should have scored more runs. However, what is a closer for if not to save tight games?
Lidge has proven that he cannot get the job done this year; it is time for a change. In the words of Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.