Last night’s Phillies – Reds game looked like it might wind up being an exciting win for the Phils. Instead, it was a loss, although it was still an interesting contest.
The Phillies took the lead in the game and then lost or tied it again 3 times. Ryan Howard drove in a run in the 1st and that was all the scoring through the first 6 innings. Cliff Lee was pitching well, but a slim 1 run lead seemed, as it has all season long, unlikely to hold up.
Sure enough, Lee got into trouble in the 7th and gave up 3 runs, although 1 was unearned due to a Howard error. The defense behind Lee ranged from spectacular to awful, with the Howard error being of the “awful” variety.
But before that, Lee worked out of a 6th inning jam thanks to some amazing defense. Kevin Fransden dove for a ball at third, flipped around on the ground and threw home from his knees to get a force out and save a run. You have to see it to believe it. It was an incredible effort.
Later in the game, Fransden shined again with another toss from his knees that bounced 3 times and still landed securely in Howard’s glove at 1st. He also had 3 hits in the game with an RBI-triple in the 8th to once again tie the game for the Phillies. If they had not lost, Fransden would have been the hero in this one for sure.
But Jonathan Papelbon tossed exactly 1 pitch in the 9th and gave up a solo homer and broke the tie in favor of the Reds. The 5-4 score was the final.
So poor Cliff Lee gets yet another no-decision in what was a winnable game. Lee was visibly upset and seen slamming his glove onto the bench in the dugout. For a guy who normally shows little emotion, this was very telling. Lee has had enough of this crazy season, as have we all.
And yet, time marches on…and so does this season whether we like it or not. Game time tonight is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
In yesterday’s 2-1 loss, the Phillies looked either unable or unwilling to deal with Braves pitcher Mike Minor. The only Phillies run was a solo shot from Chase Utley. They also committed 2 errors in yet another game.
The near-comatose effort, careless swings and lack of hustle have gone from being a minor issue to a major one.
Just ask manager Charlie Manuel. He told reporters, “Our team, we used to – and I hate to say ‘used to’ – we did things different,” Manuel said. “A lot of that contributed to our success. People do change. Success changes people. Money definitely changes people. You have to be able to see those things, too. I’m not singling out one person. I’m talking about a team.”
It is interesting to finally hear the manager say what the rest of us have been thinking all season long. This is also why many doubted whether getting injured players back, like Utley and Ryan Howard, would make any real difference. Because if the good attitude and the hustle are not there, it doesn’t matter who they throw out onto the field. And that is exactly what we are witnessing now.
These 2 losses against the Braves are probably going to push GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to pull the trigger on some trades in the next few days. The Phillies are too far behind to catch up now as they sit 11.5 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot and 15.5 out of 1st with 61 games to go.
If that happens and the team really shuts down, it will be a truly sad sight to behold. Because even if they have nothing else to play for, you would hope they might have enough pride left to at least attempt to finish strong. All we can do is hope that they choose the high road and try to improve for next season.
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Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies win streak has ended at 4 games after an awful 6-1 loss to the Braves in Atlanta last night. After a lead-off single from Jimmy Rollins in the 1st inning, the Phillies scored their only run of the game. It all went downhill from there.
Pitcher Cole Hamels had one of the worst starts of his career immediately after signing a huge $144 million contract. He walked a career high 6 batters, 3 of which came in the 2nd inning and led to 2 runs for the Braves.
Of course, those 2 runs could have been avoided if Mike Fontenot had not made a gigantic error at 3rd base. He missed a routine ground ball that would have ended the inning without a run scored. Third base has been a total nightmare for the Phillies with Placido Polanco’s constant back issues over the past 2 seasons. Polly is on the DL again and neither Fontenot nor Ty Wigginton are able to handle the hot corner. 20% off all Phillies errors this year have happened at 3rd base.
The Phillies have had many 3rd base troubles over the years since after Scott Rolen departed. Think about this: David Bell, Pedro Feliz and Polanco. What do they all have in common? You guessed it…back problems. And if next year the Phillies decide to try Freddy Galvis at 3rd, he and his back fracture will fit right in:
So the troubles at 3rd continue as do the trouble with playing error-free baseball, starting pitching woes and a sluggish offense. The other problem the Phillies are facing? How about Brian McCann. This guy is a 1-man Phillies wrecking crew.
In 6 games against the Phillies just this year, McCann has hit a home run in EVERY single game, including 1 grand slam. He has 16 RBI against the Phillies in 2012…so far. So my question then is, why are the Phillies still pitching to this guy? Walk him! Hit him with a pitch! Throw darts at him! I don’t care…just please stop pitching to the guy!
Tune in tonight at 7:10pm to see if the McCann curse continues…ugh.
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Phillies photos by Jenn Zambri Photography; McCann photo courtesy of MLB.com