I'm sad that there wasn't a single image featuring Howard's epically bad throw to second base. So here's him arguing with the atrocious home plate umpire instead! Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Yes, the headline is a bit misleading. But I didn't want to make it about the end of the sellout streak, since that's all anyone is talking/bitching/whining/lamenting/self-righteously preaching about. I'd rather talk about Ryan Howard and how painful it's been to watch him do pretty much anything lately. His booted 4th inningt throw to second (well, it was *supposed* to go to second, but it ended up somewhere in left field) was just really effing terrible, and left me sputtering at the television, completely devoid of intelligible thought. The joke is, of course, is that in the foreseeable future there is no end to Howard. He is the Phillies' first baseman. He will always be with us, through rain, sunshine, sellout, and non-sellout. He's a whisper on the wind. He is striking out before the ball is thrown. Before the game is played. He is everything and everywhere, haunting your dreams, getting badly fooled by breaking pitches.
Tonight's 6-1 loss was oddly boring, in that Vance Worley dug a hole early and the Phillies couldn't climb out of it. Worley lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three in the third). According to the estimable Todd Zolecki, this was just the third time in 42 starts that Worley lasted 3 2/3 innings or less. It just wasn't his night. (Charlie Manuel said after the game that Worley had a stomach issue tonight, and I don't really want to get into that at all, because ew.) The bullpen gave up another two runs, one from Jeremy Horst, and the other from (who else?) Michael Schwimer, who is rapidly eclipsing Ty Wigginton as my least favorite current Phillie. Schwimer gave up a monster home run to Jason Heyward, because of course he did. As for the Phillies, the offense displayed the ability to hit Ben Sheets, but not the ability to score against him. The lone run came in the form of a home run drilled off the bat of John Mayberry. It's the first home run that Sheets has given up this year.
I'll briefly mention the sellout streak, which ended tonight at 257. I feel like the enormity of the streak warrants its own post, but I will say this: I think the streak, which is the longest in National League history and the third longest in Major League history, is something to celebrate. And by that, I mean celebrate the streak itself, not the end of it, or how the Phillies "gamed" the numbers, or what have you. I know I had fun every time I went to the ballpark, surrounded by a sea of fellow Phillies fans, creating a sense of community that I think is unique. Isn't that what matters?
Moving rapidly away from happy fuzzy feelings: I hate the Braves. I hate Dan Uggla and his absurdly tight child size uniform. I hate Brian McCann and every single thing he does during every Phillies game ever. And I hate Chipper Jones, who didn't even play tonight. The Braves have won seven straight against the Phillies. The Phillies lost their 60th game tonight, which equals their loss total for the entirety of 2011. There are more than 50 games left to play in the 2012 season.
Fangraph of passionate Braves-hatred: