:Okay, so, a recap of the night's events...well, it seems as if everyone in baseball has been pulled from their starts: the Red Sox' Jackie Bradley, Jr and Anthony Ranaudo; the Tigers' Avisail Garcia. Also, there are three-way trades, dugout surveillance looking for hugs, and rampant speculation over a trade deadline that died of complications from the new CBA and the second wild card before it had a chance to live.
Oh, wait...a Phillies game? Really? Huh -- now that's novel!
In all seriousness, obviously I know that a game took place. I watched it; I'm recapping it; I got live updates from Phrozen, who is/was there in person. It happened, and, unlike the varied and multiform rumors we've been hearing, it's real and not speculative. And it was really, really dull.
Don't get me wrong -- the dingers by Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz, the fairly competent pitching by John Lannan, the pseudo-2010-NLCS rematch vibe; it was a fun one in certain respects. But there's something electrifying about a good rumor or piece of guesswork, especially when you're watching yet another 3-2 count develop from a fastball pitcher sitting in the mid-80s on a good day. There's all kinds of reasons for this -- I thought about talking about Ken Goldsmith's philosophy of boredom or Hannah Arendt's concept of the banality of evil, but it turns out I did that before. The curse of the weak thinker: repetition.
But the urge to love the unknown is a powerful one, and this is largely because of the power of the unknown to mean beyond our own expectations. One can imagine a reality beyond the trade deadline that is fascinating and debate-inducing, beyond the half-assed denials of beats and GMs alike. Meanwhile, there are facts that are beyond imagination: John Lannan pitched seven innings of seven hit ball, with three strikeouts, two walks, and three earned runs. His opposite number, Barry Zito, did not fare so well, only going 3.1 innings, and allowing four earned runs on five hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.
Quite of a few of his blemishes came in a monster-long bottom of the first that was a Chooch and Lannan hit away from turning over the lineup. While the Phillies only came away with two thanks to Ruiz's popout to end the first, Chooch paid his debt in full in the fourth inning, hitting his first homerun of the year to put the Phillies up 4-2. Meanwhile, walking trade rumor Michael Young launched his own two run shot in the sixth, and John Mayberry, Jr. doubled in Michael Martinez (who only got on base because he pinch ran for Delmon Young) in the seventh to account for the last of the Phillies runs.
Giants hitters were fairly flummoxed by Lannan, Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus, who combined to let up three runs on a sac fly from Pablo Sandoval, a single by Sandoval, and a groundout by Joaquin Arias. Not bad from a fifth starter and an absolutely busted bullpen. Oh, and Cody Asche debuted. He popped up, which is bad, but the good news is that he: a) seemed to have okay plate discipline, and b) came out to Dio's "Holy Diver," which, I mean, come on. New favorite player.
As Phrozen who, unlike the stereotype, was actually at the game said: it was a fun one. So why did I feel so bored sitting at home watching? Maybe because the Phillies are emphatically out of it. Maybe because, as our own Mattwinks said on twitter, this was basically a game in which the Phillies lineup looked mostly like beer league softball players. Maybe because Barry Zito/John Lannan just really isn't a great matchup. All of those probably played some part.
But I think the reason I was actually bored is a little more troubling: I just got twitter today (@Hegelbon whooo) and between that and updating trade rumors again and again, I found myself far less invested in the actual and the present than I was in a promised, glitzy future. Perhaps once the deadline passes tomorrow afternoon, we'll get back to a sense of time that makes some basic reasonable sense -- maybe we've seen the last of Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, or Cliff Lee, too, so maybe not. Either way, after four tomorrow, I think the hard look we'll have to give our team will be both jarring and helpful. Jarring because, flawed as they are and bad as they can be, the Phillies are who they are; not even Xander Bogaerts is going to change this team overnight. They're the team we root for, and it's not going to be fun to look their true talent level in the eye these next few months.
But it will be helpful in the sense that, yes, the tangible is the world we live in and must experience day by day. And there's something about a 7-3 boring game with terrible pitchers that I'll miss desperately in February. So hang it, I'm glad I watched this out of the corner of my eye, and I wish I had the willpower to give it a better view. Imagination is phenomenal, of course, and opens many avenues, but we have a team in the present, even if nothing happens to make them glitzier in the next 17 and a half hours. Maybe they can be fun too.
Fangraph of positive thinking and present living below.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=610490&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2013-07-30&team=Phillies&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2013-07-30&team=Phillies&dh=0&season=2013">FanGraphs</a></span>