clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Down. Out?

Well, that wasn't much fun.

After a charge to the division title as thrilling as it was improbable, the Phillies find themselves a loss away from the offseason. Blame an offense that's gone uncharacteristically quiet, a middle relief corps that was characteristically awful, some bad decisions by manager Charlie Manuel, the pall of suck that hangs over every Philadelphia team in the postseason, or simply a scalding-hot Coloardo ballclub--but there is no more margin for error.

The key moment in today's 10-5 loss was Kyle Lohse serving up a grand slam home run to the least likely slugger in the Rockies lineup, second baseman Kaz Matsui. I hated the decision to pull Kyle Kendrick in favor of Lohse, mostly because I thought Kendrick had already clawed his way out of enough tight spots that he deserved one more chance, but also because Lohse isn't a reliever--and as such, it's a lot to ask that he come in with the bases loaded and the game arguably on the line.

Worse, going to Lohse there all but assured Jamie Moyer would pitch Saturday in Colorado--a matchup made in hell for the aged, flyball-prone lefty who relies on hitters being too aggressive and getting themselves out. The Rockies have drawn eight walks in the series thus far, and struck out to pitchers other than Cole Hamels and Brett Myers just eight times. It's hard to fathom that lineup doing itself in against Moyer.

If there's grounds for hope, consider that the top half of the Phillies offense woke up in today's game. Rollins, Burrell, Utley and Howard went a combined 7 for 18 with two homers, a triple, a walk and all five RBI. If they get off to a fast start Saturday, who knows what could happen.

But if they're to win, they'll have to become just the second team ever to lose the first two Division Series games at home, then win three straight, a feat accomplished only by the 2001 Yankees. They've got about 50 hours to prepare.