You'd like to think an impotent hot dog gun driven by Cliff Lee won't be horrific foreshadowing of the 2014 Phillies season.
You'd like to think that.
In between the fifth and sixth innings of Friday night's 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park, the team's penultimate exhibition battle of 2014, Lee hopped aboard the Phanatic's hot dog gun and, hilarity ensued (via d3j5vwomefv46c.cloudfront.net).
Cliff Lee can't seem to operate the hot dog gun. 5feet is longest length. pic.twitter.com/9A2H2KM25A— Frank Klose (@PhilliesFrank) March 29, 2014
Unfortunately for the Phillies, those hot dogs traveled farther than most of the batted balls hit by the Phillies.
The bats fell silent once again, failing to score a run for the third consecutive game. In their last three exhibition contests, the Phillies have scored zero runs and notched five hits.
On Friday night, they wasted a solid performance from Kyle Kendrick, who in his last two spring starts has put up a 11.0 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 8 SO line. It was a vintage "good Kyle" performance, who had his sinker working for him all night long.
The only offensive bright spot was Chase Utley who, after a rough spring, doubled twice (just missing a home run three times), and singled, accounting for three of the Phils' four hits on the night (a Ben Revere single was the other). It was encouraging to see him smoke line drives all over the place after seemingly going a month without hitting anything hard in the air.
LA - "So in the last 3 games the Phillies have 6 hits and Utley has 4 of them" Franzke -"Well at least Utley is going good"— Franzke & LA (@FranzkeLA) March 29, 2014
Always look on the bright side of life, guys.
In some other news that will not shock you, Phillipe Aumont entered the game in the sixth inning and, you seriously need to sit down for this news, had trouble finding the strike zone. He gave up a leadoff walk to Andrew McCutchen, wild pitched him to second, then gave up an RBI single to Russell Martin to give Pittsburgh their first run of the game. I'd like to officially call that sequence "Aumonting" from here on out, mmkay?
Aumont retired only one of the three hitters he faced, but was responsible for two runs after Antonio Bastardo gave up an RBI single to Neil Walker.
Pittsburgh got their third run off Jake Diekman, who did a marvelous Aumont impersonation in the 8th, giving up two hits, a walk and a run in 2/3 of an inning.
One positive note, however, was Jonathan Papelbon's non-save appearance in the 9th. While his fastball velocity hovered in the 89-91 mph range, his splitter was dive-bombing to the dirt, allowing Paps to strike out the side without a whole lot of gas. If he can throw his split like that all season, he might be able get by with a diminished fastball.
The Phillies will play Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon (weather permitting) at Citizens Bank Park in their final exhibition game of the season before heading to Texas to play the Rangers on Monday.
My advice... get used to hearing the phrase "...and the Phillies go down quietly in the..."