Snuff Film Played to the Benny Hill Theme: Tigers 12, Phillies 4

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

An eight run inning, with none earned, leads to an eighth straight loss. Was this rock bottom? Tough to know, and tougher to care.

Let’s get the gruesome out of the way. With the score tied 3-3, this happened:

Bottom 6th: Detroit

- J. Diekman relieved J. Pettibone

- A. Dirks walked

- A. Avila safe at first on pitcher J. Diekman's throwing error, A. Dirks to second

- R. Santiago reached on bunt single, A. Dirks to third, A. Avila to second

- A. Jackson flied out to shallow right

- D. Kelly safe at first on left fielder S. Susdorf's fielding error, A. Dirks scored, A. Avila to third, R. Santiago to second

- L. Garcia relieved J. Diekman

- M. Tuiasosopo walked, A. Avila scored, R. Santiago to third, D. Kelly to second

- H. Perez ran for M. Tuiasosopo

- P. Fielder safe at first on first baseman D. Ruf's throwing error, R. Santiago scored, D. Kelly to third, H. Perez to second

- V. Martinez walked, D. Kelly scored, H. Perez to third, P. Fielder to second

- J. Peralta homered to deep left, H. Perez, P. Fielder and V. Martinez scored

- A. Bastardo relieved L. Garcia

- A. Dirks struck out swinging

- A. Avila struck out looking

8 runs, 2 hits, 3 errors

Philadelphia 3, Detroit 11

A couple things here before we accelerate past the wreck. If nothing else, Jake Diekman really should be an effective lefty-slayer. He’s got the mid-90s heat, hard slider, and tough-to-pick-up delivery. What he doesn’t have is consistent command or, evidently, the least amount of baseball intelligence. After issuing a leadoff walk to Andy Dirks, he committed an error on Alex Avila’s bunt, then misplayed a second bunt from Ramon Santiago. It was scored a hit., meaning that the Phils committed only three errors in the inning rather than four.

This was the third time in four innings that the Tigers had loaded the bases with no outs. The Phils had escaped in the third inning, thanks to some good work by starter Jonathan Pettibone and umpire Chad Fairchild’s mid-at-bat ejection of Miguel Cabrera. In the fifth, Detroit pushed across three runs to tie the game, on a bleeder single and two groundouts. Perhaps the baseball gods rewarded this high-quality small-ball by smiting the Phillies to the tune of the two bases-loaded errors, two bases-loaded walks, and one Jhonny Peralta grand slam that produced the eight Detroit runs in the sixth.

That was the slapstick nightmare portion of today’s program. But if you’re looking for synecdoche, I recommend the half-inning that followed. Steve Susdorf, the career minor-leaguer whose dropped fly was the second error of the Detroit sixth, flied out to lead off the Phillies’ seventh. Then, in what had to be one of the more subtle and effective eff-yous from a manager to a GM in baseball history, Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Jimmy Rollins with John McDonald, who struck out, and pinch-hit for Michael Young with Michael Martinez, who softly lined out to second.

About the best you can say for these last two games, in which the Phils were outscored 22-4 and saw their last flickering hopes for 2013 stamped out, is that the signifying characters don’t figure to play big roles going forward. Raul Valdes, Susdorf, McDonald, Martinez and all those hard-throwing but ineffective young relievers are indicative of a team depleted in personnel and spirit, and a front office that failed spectacularly in backing up and complementing its key talent. As we toss the last shovelful of dirt on the team's aspirations for 2013, all that's left is to hope they do it better the next time, starting in the next three days.

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