This game sucked, man.
The Phillies' futility in the clutch during Friday night's 2-0 loss to the Dodgers had a lot to do with Clayton Kershaw. But it also had a lot to do with their own inability to play sound, fundamental baseball.
Stop me if you've heard this before.
Somehow, some way, the Phillies failed to score a run when they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 4th, and a 1st and 2nd, no-out situation in the 6th, and came up empty each time.
However, in those two situations, the Phillies were facing one of the best two or three pitchers in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. The man has won three straight ERA titles, and was hands-down the best pitcher in baseball last year, posting a 1.83 ERA, 2.39 FIP, and an fWAR of 6.5.
What happened in the bottom of the 7th inning, though, was especially disheartening. The Phillies somehow loaded the bases with nobody out, thanks to a pinch-hit single by Ben Revere, a walk by Cesar Hernandez, and a sacrifice bunt by Tony Gwynn Jr. on which he was safe at first thanks to a throwing error by pitcher Brandon League.
L.A. manager Don Mattingly summoned J.P. Howell from the bullpen. The Phillies made him look like Aroldis Chapman. Dom Brown hit a sinking liner to left on which Carl Crawford made a splendid sliding catch. However, Ben Revere did not tag up on the play and was therefore not able to score.
Jimmy Rollins followed with a grounder to third that resulted in Revere being thrown out at home. Finally, Carlos Ruiz ended everyone's misery with a lazy fly ball to right. So how unlikely was it that the Phils would get nothing out of a bases loaded, no-out situation?
MLB average runs scored after loading the bases with no outs: 2.3 Phillies just now: 0— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) May 24, 2014
Through seven innings, the Phillies were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and, had just three hits all game. Which lead to this all-important question...
What is a run? How do you acquire one?— Chris Branch (@ChrisBranchTNJ) May 24, 2014
Scienceticians have been wondering this for years. WHERE ARE YOU SABERMETRICS? CAN YOU NOT ANSWER THESE SIMPLE QUESTIONS FOR THE PHILLIES?
Roberto Hernandez, meanwhile, tried to do his best to keep the Phils in the game, and he did it well. He lasted 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts, lowing his ERA to 3.83. He left with two runners on and one out in the 7th, but Mario Hollands induced a double play to get out of the threat.
Antonio Bastardo pitched the 8th in the usual fashion, by letting the first two men reach base and then retiring the next three hitters. He then pitched around a two-out walk to Yasiel Puig to hold the Dodgers scoreless for the rest of the night.
Unfortunately, the offense ran out of gas after their many failures in the previous innings and went down quietly in the bottom of the 8th and 9th. The good news, there were only about 55 people left in the stands to see it.
And so, the Phillies were shut out for the 5th time in their last 8 games at Citizens Bank Park and fall to 20-25 on the season, 8-13 at home. The moral of the story?
Season so far only seems to be proving it's a waste of time to work constantly and stress the fundamentals. It hasn't made a difference.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 24, 2014
Here's your depressing Fangraph.