This was not Ryan Howard's finest hour. More on that later.
Tonight's game was played in Los Angeles against the Dodgers with Jonathan Pettibone facing Zack Greinke. It was a paper mismatch, and I was reminded of the Family Guy Mets bit. This game felt a lot like that from the outset.
The Dodgers were up 3 - 0 before the paint dried on the game thread. Andre Ethier's two run double capped the three run first inning. It had the feel of one of those games, but tonight, the Phillies fought back.
This is a good time to review the prophecy of franchise1234:
Domonic Brown's solo homer in the top of the second was the first sign of life for the Phillies. Later in the second, when the Phillies were trying to mount a rally, it mounted them when Delmon Young was picked off second, trying to...well he wasn't going to steal, so I have no idea what the Brian Cashman he was doing. Sucking, I suppose. Like Brooke West in Garage Girls.
At least Zack Greinke's pitch count was climbing, hitting 40 pitches after two innings, and the Phillies cleared Pettibone in the order. This enabled Ben Revere to lead off the third with a single so that he could get caught stealing on a strike out/thrown out double play during Chase Utley's at bat. Good times. Miss you, Davey Lopes (now in LA -- Los Angeles, not Larry Andersen -- coaching first base).
Pettibone kept the Dodgers off the board in the second, retiring them in order after a Nick Punto lead off single. He handled Yasiel Puig for the second time (the first was on a fielder's choice in the first). Still, he was running deep counts.
Pettibone hit 50 pitches in the third after striking out Adrian Gonzalez to start things off. He struck out Matt Kemp and Ethier flied out to Brown for the final out in a 1-2-3 inning, but the mid-fifties pitch count virtually ensured the entry of some of the NL's worst relievers into the game at some point. At home, as they drank enough bourbon to kill the pain, Phillies fans were surely waiting to shout derisively: "Everyone 'pitches' WOOHOO!!" With the scare quotes, in a way that only Philadelphia fans can do it.
Pettibone kept it going in the fourth inning, retiring the Dodgers in order again to run his streak of consecutive outs to nine on 67 pitches. The easy inning possibly forestalling the bullpennery until the seventh inning, so long as Pettibone could keep getting outs in the interim.
The Phillies made some noise in the fifth. Pettibone stuck his bat out and knocked a ball past Juan Uribe (yes, him) at third. Ben Revere hit a ball back up the middle, but Greinke made a kick save and the ball bounded into right, allowing Pettibone to go to third with one out, bringing Chase Utley to the plate. Utley, to the horror of Marcus Hayes, blooped his second hit of the night to center, knocking in a run and giving the Phillies another first and third as Revere scooted to third on the play. Jimmy Rollins followed with an RBI single that tied the game up at 3 - 3, as the Phillies bled Greinke to death with a thousand cuts and deep counts.
It was not Greinke's sharpest night, but he managed to wriggle out of the mess by getting Ryan Howard to hit a ground ball for a double play when Howard foolishly swung at a 3 - 0 pitch. It was a really poor decision as Greinke was struggling and Domonic Brown was standing in the on deck circle, having drilled one homer earlier in the game. This was a frustrating out, with the 1-6-3 twin killing wiping out what looked to be a very promising rally on a vulnerable Greinke.
With the game thusly tied, Pettibone went back to work, dealing with Greinke and Skip Schumaker in short order. Puig came to the plate for his third appearance. Pettibone popped him up, retiring Puig and running his streak of consecutive outs to twelve.
Pettibone was able to stay in the game when Humberto Quintero killed a nascent rally started by a couple of hits from Delmon Young and Kevin Frandsen. Had Quintero not hit into a double play, it appeared as though Pettibone might get pulled for a pinch hitter. As it was, Pettibone started the bottom of the sixth, with Gonzalez, Kemp, and Ethier scheduled to hit.
With cheeks clenched, Phillies fans watched as Pettibone retired them in order on a liner to Brown, a strike out of Kemp following a long, tense at bat, and a ground out by Ethier. With Pettibone's spot leading off and Justin De Fratus warming, Pettibone was done after 6 innings, having retired 15 in a row. His FIP was 2.21, having surrendered 3 runs, 4 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts on 95 pitches. Had you told me before the game that Pettibone would leave after six with the game tied, I would have been very pleased. Atta boy, Pettibone.
The top of the seventh revealed why Marcus Hayes is so full of crap -- Chase Utley's bat is protruding from Hayes' ass. Utley's solo homer put the Phillies up by a run when it just barely cleared the fence. Utley, not entirely sure it was out, sprinted most of the way around the bases. If you are counting, it was Utley's third hit of the night, his second RBI, and his 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th bases of the night. Oh hai, Marcus.
De Fratus entered the game in the seventh, and bullpennery ensued. The inevitable lead off walk started the fun when De Fratus missed with a slider on a 3 - 2 count to A.J. Ellis. This was followed by a Ryan Howard faceplant while trying to field a sacrifice bunt attempt up the first base line. Everyone safe. With first and second and no outs, Nick Punto sacrificed the runners to second and third. Hanley Ramirez came in to hit for Greinke, and was intentionally walked to load the bases for Skip Schumaker. De Fratus struck him out on three pitches, bringing up Yasiel Puig. Gulp.
After falling behind 0 - 2, Puig singled through the left side to drive in two runs and give the lead back to the Dodgers. To be fair to De Fratus, the pitch to Puig was good, but Puig reached across the plate and golfed it. Dude can hit. The problem is that when starting the inning, De Fratus violated Rule 2: DON'T WALK DUDES. The Dodgers made him pay. Getting A.J. Ellis is a lot easier than getting Yasiel Puig. Throw strikes. THROW STRIKES. Antonio Bastardo was brought in to face lefty Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez hit an easy fly to Revere for the final out, but the damage was done and the Dodgers had the lead.
The Phillies mounted nothing particularly threatening in the eighth, though Delmon Young annoyingly reached on his fourth hit of the night, likely extending his stay in Philadelphia longer. Of course, he was picked off early in the game to kill a rally, scored no runs, and drove no runs in, but hey! Four hits! Mercifully, John Mayberry ran for him, removing Young from the field. Would that the in-game move be accompanied by a roster move, but alas, it was not to be.
With Bastardo staying in the game, Matt Kemp singled to start off the eighth for the Dodgers. Bastardo did nothing to hold Kemp, who stole his way to third (Hi there, Davey Lopes!). He scored on a shallow sac fly to right and a weak J ohn Mayberry throw up the line. The inning ended with no further damage, but the single insurance run was bad enough.
The Phillies had to try to come back against Kenley Jansen, an outrageously good strikeout pitcher who doesn't walk anyone. In other words, a really effective bullpen piece. Revere reached on a 2 out single and took second with two outs, making things a bit interesting, especially with Utley coming to the plate. After getting behind 0 - 2, Utley worked the count full while fouling off a number of pitches. Jansen retired Utley on a liner to Adrian Gonzalez the final out and the save.
Lots of people to blame for this one. Have at it.
Fangraph of can't wait for the west coast road trip to end: