Cliff Lee was going for his 10th win tonight.
He was denied.
When a closer does what Jonathan Papelbon has done over the past eight days, which is blow four straight saves, he begins a cycle. The manager, worried about the dependability of his closer (and in this case, of his bullpen as a whole), lets his starter go longer than he should. The starter does what many tired starters do, and then the closer comes in already at a disadvantage.
This is what happened tonight.
Cliff Lee cruised through eight innings of baseball, putting on a show for possible trade partners, but also for fans like me who want to soak up every single second of Cliff Lee goodness they can before he leaves the Phillies uniform behind for a second time. (Probably.) Charlie Manuel sent Lee out for the ninth inning at 109 pitches, and shockingly it didn't end well. He gave up a single and a double and Papelbon came in. A single scored two runs. The tying run was scored on a passed ball.
John Mayberry went 3-for-4 with two stolen bases tonight. He scored two of the Phillies' three runs. Chase Utley had two hits including a solo home run, his first since he returned from the disabled list. All good things, but not quite enough. Justin De Fratus lost it in the tenth inning.
Tonight, Jonathan Papelbon blew his fourth save in eight days. They're building on each other now. One blown save sucks. Two in a row is unfortunate. Three together is a problem. And beyond that... well, we'll all find out.
I looked at this Fangraph and now I'm blind. THANKS, PHILLIES.
I'm Tired Madeline Kahn Blazing Saddles (via metaphysician1)