Like the security blanket of Icarus, the Phillies once again returned to suck (their thumbs) back to the .500 mark in an aggravating, eminently winnable affair at Citizens Bank Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
All of the essential ingredients were present in a game completely emblematic of this water-bug of a season. Good news! Vance Worley was back! Bad news! A 32-pitch first inning that put the Phillies in a 2-0 hole! Mitigating factor: a questionable call! More bad news! He gave up another run in the second! Mitigating factor: not his fault the Phillies didn't play with the infield in with Dee Gordon up and a runner on third! Good news! He retired the Dodgers in order in the third! And Placido Polanco hit a home run off Clayton Kershaw to tie the game and take him off the hook! And Hunter Pence laid out on a Gordon liner to right in the fourth to bail him out! Rollins tripled with one out in the fifth! Then broke for home on contact on a ball hit to shortstop Dee Gordon, which equaled an out.
And so it went, all night long. The Phillies, in desperate search of a win against a quality opponent, a statement series homestand in a neigborhood of tough opponents, are turning endlessly into the curvy blind cul-de-sacs of mediocrity. No honey, this isn't it, dammit we've been here before already. And we're late ~ Well Mr. Smarty Pants did you print out the eVite directions like I told you to? ~Goddammit woman all these houses look the same in this fucking development! ~Well get the cell phone dammit! Why can't you just call? ~ You fucking call, they're your goddamn so-called friends! ~The cell phone battery is dead damn you! Shut up! You shut up! Dammit I can't live like this anymore! I want a divorce.
Kind of like this. Read more if you must.
Some of the more interesting turns included a very nice outing by Joe Savery, who held the Dodgers at bay in a 3-3 game after relieving Worley, who was on a pitch count, in the fifth. After Savery struck out the side in the sixth (first time ever in the bigs! Attaboy kid!), upsetting Jerry Hairston, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was ejected by home plate umpire D. J. Reyburn.
The seventh was perhaps the sine qua non of thoroughly exciting, non-productive baseball: Freddy Galvis and Jimmy Rollins sandwiched two singles around outs by John Mayberry, Jr. and Hector Luna. Polanco then hit a soft liner to second that was smothered by Hairston, who in turn allowed it to roll away 20 feet from him. With Rollins frantically waving at Galvis to run home, third base coach Juan Samuel held Galvis. The bases thusly loaded, and Hunter Pence at the plate, the inevitable sad trombone that is Pence's RISP bat played its lonesome tones in a lumberjumped out-of-his-socks groundout to second.
There was plenty of blame to go around. First and foremost, it was the eminently unlucky Cliff Lee's bobblehead night, compounded by the fact that Comcast had the gall to show a fan dressed up as Santa Claus mere seconds before Dee Gordon led off the ninth for the Dodgers with a triple to the right-center gap on a 2-2 count. That it was a 2-2 count at all was a subject of a contretemps between Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon and Reyburn. Stay tuned on this one, as Papelbon had some postgame comments about Reyburn "needing to go back to triple-A" that may not be taken to very kindly by the league office.
But Hunter Pence was an abject misery at the park tonight, bringin' da boo-ey noise and da stanky stink-funk to the hizzy hee-owze. Pence was 0 for 4 and left four runners stranded, the most miserably predictable of the three coming on the bases-loaded, two-out situation in the 7th inning after l'affaire baserunning of Polanco-Rollins-Galvis-Samuel. He also had the dubious distinction, known on the mean pickup sandlots of yesteryore as The Suckiest Little Kid Brother in the Neighborhood Easy Out(TM) Award by being the third out in four innings.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel bemoaned the fact that the Phillies are always "one hit away" from victory. As it happened today, those hits are also seven states away as well.
Bad Religion - Mediocrity (via Hupsibasse)