Here, ultimately, was a fun-house mirror exercise of teams in completely different steads.
Over the last two weeks we have seen our old buddies the Atlanta Braves. For the longest time, they were treading water, in the same .500 level miasma as the Phillies, and thereby we could tell ourselves that they were somehow catchable, if only the Phillies could get off to a good start after the All-Star Break. The Braves have gone on that streak, completely de-pantsing their opponents with a barrage of offensive competence buffeted by a decent bullpen, an excellent closer, and nice young pitchers, like Brandon Beachy. Beachy is gradually returning to form following Tommy John surgery, and the Phillies have been there to help him continue his minor-league rehab assignment.
Reassure yourself that only the most intelligent among us can hold the twin concepts of admiring this Braves structure and loathing it like the craptastic, canned-strawberry-and-whipped-cream concoction that was slapped down in front of you at the Waffle House just off I-75. Yes, it's kind of campy and fun that the employees are coerced, like prisoners of war greeting Red Cross inspectors, to greet you coming through the door. It is among one of Georgia's many charms, such as violin-playing cockroaches that do gigs in the hipster restaurants of Buckhead, malls built primarily for white people, and Andersonville.
But Lawd, how I do digress! It must be this un-Gawdly humidity that resulted in this sultry rain delay and the little mohnstahs spoilin' my lovely mint juuuleps with their hossplay. Now where was I? Oh yes.
On the other side were the Phillies, losers of all but two games since vacation, so far off the rails that they sit a-rusting in the pond. Their starting pitcher, John Lannan, lasted just four outs before leaving the game with what appears to be structural damage in his knee. Thus twate Gelb postgame:
Sounds like John Lannan’s season is over. Structural issue in knee. May need surgery.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) August 15, 2013
Like many of us, I have never found Lannan loveable, and while I'm sure other human beings like him, I did not need reminding that he is a pitcher much like Jamie Moyer, except so much more detestable. So we have probably seen the last of him and his endampened unibrow in a Phillies uniform, anyways, coincidently on a day when Delmon Young refused to go to AAA. So there are, perhaps, some silver linings. We await the coming departures of Michael Young and Jonathan Papelbon, and then we will be washed clean of the history of this campaign that failed.
In the meantime, however, there the Phillies were in the second, already down 2-0, with Lannan heading off the mound and erstwhile stiff Zach Miner coming in to face Freddie Freeman with runners on second and third. Suffice it to say the inning ended with the Phillies down 5-0. Please don't ask how that sausage got made, but the win expectancy zoomed up to 92.8% for the Braves and never got below 90% for the rest of the game.
Let's look ahead to some bright future somewhere, as we divine some meaning in these Tomato League entrails and droppings from tonight's game:
- Domonic Brown. How cool is this guy? He makes catches. He hits home runs and doubles. He went three for four. Sigh, he needs some help out there.
- Darin Ruf can help! He hit a home run too.
- Pretty much everyone else can go kiss my warm, moist, crotchsmelly butt borne of losery lositude and excessive moisture.
The Phillies come home Friday to face the hottest team in baseball. May the good Lord have mercy on our souls.