Phillies games against the Pirates are a delicious blend of terror and tedium played against a backdrop of obscurity, something akin to clearing a minefield after a war that ended a few years ago, long after the nurses and sailors have kissed in Times Square. Important work, to be sure, and when bad things happen it's as easily dismissed kind of tragedy because someone probably just wasn't being careful.
If that's too grisly a metaphor for you, then consider instead that, for a while, anyway, the game felt like the varsity had sobered up after Friday night's big bash at the pretty cheerleader's house and started to get it together. Chase Utley homered. Ryan Howard homered. Impressively, too - upper deckers! High fives to strangers sitting around you and orgasmic Tweets ahoy! Whoo hoo! Jimmy Rollins tried some grit and hustletood in the first, but Andrew McCutcheon's multi-drawered centerfield toolbox threw him out trying to stretch his hit to left centerfield from a single to a double. Forgiveable! The bats are out! And even the gloves too, as Dom Brown made a fantastic catch in full-out, dive mode.
The blemishes, however, are just too enmeshed in the Phillies' current makeup that no amount of coverup can hide them. The harbinger here occurred in the fifth, when Rollins doubled, Utley bunted (!) him to third, and here we were again with a first-and-third, nobody out situation. Grounders ensued from cleanup men who are laboring under some kind of role confusion. No runs scored. And for all that effort, the Phillies still had a paltry two runs on the board. For partial credit, Kevin Frandsen, pinch hitting for Roy Halladay with two outs in the sixth, singled in what looked for all the world like a Little Engine that Could insurance run for a 3-1 lead.
Before this recap devolves, a brief detour and a hearty huzzah! for Roy Halladay. His continued in-season rehabilitation from early season nightmares and the mushy mounds of spring training continued tonight, as he pitched 6 innings, gave up only one hit, surrendered one run, walked two (one of which scored, of course, but still), and struck out eight. One pants a bit at the imminent return of his couch doll.
So let's get the rest of this over with. The seventh came. Antonio Bastardo, 7th inning guy, came in. He gave up a home run to Pedro Alvarez, which cut the lead to 3-2. But that was it. The eighth inning then happened. Mike Adams, 8th inning guy, came in, and gave up a walk to Jose Tabata to lead off the inning. Other things happened. The creepy hand came out of the box.
We did not see the 9th inning guy, masturbating ape Jonathan Papelbon. We got to see Chase Utley make a full-out sprint in the 9th on a ball that simultaneously ticked off his glove and many fans, and turned the score to 5-3.
The Phillies fell to 9-13 on the Young season. After tonight's game Charlie Manuel hinted to the press that Ben Revere might not play tomorrow. Something about swinging too hard and playing every game, and, well, like that. Perhaps he meant the .242 OBP after 93 at-bats. Yeah, that's it. Lineup will be an adventure, for sure. But the good Lord willing and the Creeks don't rise, Cliff Lee will make it all better.
Oh, Fangraph. You bitch!
Addams Family TV Show Opening 1964 (via Juztin Hale)