Did you hear the news? The Phillies' farm system is stocked with young talent, ready to feed the next generation of stars! With everything fixed organizationally, the Phillies took the field at the Bright House Complex in hopes of winning a third game in two weeks.
Exhibition baseball! It has begun to feel endless.
Things started off well. Cliff Lee threw a pitch. It was good.
Then things went south. Jason Heyward connected with the second pitch for a home run. B.J. Upton made himself useful and ran out an anemic dribbler that Chase Utley almost underhanded right over John Mayberry's head. Upton then obnoxiously stole second and insufferably moved to third upon Freddie Freeman shatting a fly ball to Ben Revere.
Cliff then gave up his first walk of the spring to Justin Upton, who, thanks to his reckless, pompous nature, didn't even offer a "thank you." Furious, Cliff devoured Ryan Doumit on strikes, and then Chris Johnson managed to ground out to short without having an emotional meltdown.
Cliff returned in the second inning, where he buzzsawed through Dan Uggla, Gerald Laird, and Tyler Greene. The Phillies scared up a base runner in Carlos Ruiz, who was Brandon Beachy's second walk of the day (Cliff had just allowed his first of the preseason, remember).
He wound up exiting after 60 pitches in the fourth inning, when the Braves asked Cliff to give up a single to Chris Johnson so he wouldn't throw a temper tantrum. Cliff agreed, then graciously gave way to Mario Hollands, who is probably not going to make the team (and accentuated this point by letting Dan Uggla bounce a two-run ball off Frenchy's). Cliff went 3.2 innings, allowing two runs, three hits, and striking out five.
Things remained painfully tame for a while. Some highlights:
- Ben Revere ate some warning track attempting to replicate his Catch of the Year from last year, minus the part where he caught the ball on a deep Gerald Laird fly.
- Mario Hollands caught a pop-up while butt-slamming himself or something. Weird. Not making the team.
- Bobby Abreu singled, walked, and tricked Tyler Greene into fielding a ground ball with his shins. Pump up the middle portion of that stat line, you monument to standing on white squares.
The Phillies offense did nothing other than leave runners on base, and the game then yawned into the seventh, when Jonathan Papelbon appeared.
He began Papelbonning through the inning with a Maikel Franco throwing error, a stolen base, a swinging strikeout, an infield single, an RBI single, a second strikeout, a second RBI single, an RBI double, and a called third strikeout. It was a great preview of how the ninth inning will be going completely wrong in the near future.
Then began one of the more watchable parts of the day, as young Ken Giles inherited the mound. He brought his signature heat scorched Tyler Greene, gave up a single, then got Matt Lipka swinging, gave up a walk, then got Joey Terdoslavich looking. Rumor had it he may have hit 100 mph.
And then, the offensive flood gates finally opened with two outs in the eighth:
Reid Brignac with a a run-scoring hit that brings some applause (mocking applause?) from Phils fans. They will not be shut out.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) March 10, 2014
The floodgates then quietly closed.
In the ninth, Justin De Fratus got the ball, after staying up way too late last night having a laugh.
"I'm all thumbs today" has to be one of my favorite expressions ever! Idk why but it genuinely makes me laugh— Justin De Fratus (@JustinDeFratus) March 10, 2014
De Fratus allowed no runs, and had a real dandy of a glove-flip to Reid Brignac at first base to get the first out. Zach Collier made a sprawling catch in left center, as well, to end the inning. Ha ha ha. Take that, Barves.
Anyways, the Barves stomped the Phillies - who summoned nothing close to a miraculous ninth inning comeback as a small contingent of gulls slowly advanced on the outfield - and the day ended with yet another demoralizing loss by a wide margin; this time, 8-1.
They left nine men on base and stayed 1-for-5 with RISP. Dom Brown went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, Chase Utley was 1-for-3 and Marlon Byrd had the mightiest hit of the day with a meaningless double.