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1-0 Games: The Universe Is Random and There's Nothing You Can Do About It

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Pausing amidst a 1-0 game to ponder the meaning of life, Roy Halladay wonders to himself, "Maybe Nietzsche was right."  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Pausing amidst a 1-0 game to ponder the meaning of life, Roy Halladay wonders to himself, "Maybe Nietzsche was right." (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Roy Halladay pitched eight innings giving up two hits to the first two batters, and the final score was 1-0.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does it signal six months of excitement or presage six months of agony? Is it a predictor of a team that is ready to once again compete for a championship or is it a reason to question the fundamental nature of a franchise? Does it cause you to spend the next 48 hours elated about your team or is it the basis for spending the next 48 hours staring blankly into the vast unknown because baseball has once again ripped your heart out, thrown it on the floor, and stomped on it with sharpened metal cleats?

Roy Halladay pitched eight innings giving up two hits to the first two batters, and the final score was 1-0.

Can this mean all of the things listed above at the same time . . . and yet mean absolutely nothing? Can this just be evidence that the universe is random, and that any meaning we try to attach to things is often just a fools errand?

The Phillies lost their last game in 2011 in the exact same way they won their first game of 2012. Roy Halladay took the mound and pitched eight innings. He did exactly what he was supposed to do, in giving his team a chance to win by limiting the other team scoring. In the course of doing this, he gave up two hits to start the game. After that, though, he shut the team down. There were close calls, the top of the 8th in Game 5 and the Mayberry spectacular catches yesterday, but after those two hits, on both days Halladay blanked the other team.

In both games, 1 run was scored. Shane Victorino slightly misjudges the bounce off the wall and Rafael Furcal is now dancing on third base to start Game 5 rather than second; Halladay is distracted, gives up another double, and the run scores. Yesterday, Ty Wigginton somehow tags up on a medium fly ball and beats the throw to the plate yesterday, and the run scores.

In both games, no other runs are scored. Yesterday, the Pirates are the victim of a tough double-play in the first inning, so the runner on third can't tag up when the next batter flies out to end the inning. In Game 5, with men on first and third, Raul Ibanez just gets under the ball in the fourth inning, so the inning ends in a fly-out rather than a run-scoring double (or more). The Pirates can't catch a break with Mayberry's sensational fielding. The Phillies can't catch a break with the usually-reliable-on-the-basepaths Utley being caught stealing.

Roy Halladay pitched eight innings giving up two hits to the first two batters, and the final score was 1-0.

Baseball can be a cruel sport. As fans, we have to recognize that cruelty and resist letting the game chew us up and spit us out. Indeed, we need to enjoy and celebrate the wins. But maybe those losses, those cruel season-ending losses, don't mean much more than that someone has to win, and someone has to lose.