I'm more than happy to take the blame for things I'm responsible for. Giving my students too much work. Forgetting to charge the kids' DVD players before that one long car ride last year. That Newt-Gingrich-is-going-to-defund-NPR email your grandmother is still forwarding you.
OK, maybe I had nothing to do with that last one, but I certainly am to blame for tonight's debacle. See, I was solo parenting for the evening as my wife was out with a friend. So I didn't get to turn on the Phillies game until after shower, books, and bedtime for the little ones.
By the time I turned on the TV, it was about 8:40. By all accounts from the announcers, the game had been quite zippy, with 6-plus innings taking about 17 minutes. That might not be entirely accurate, but it's close.
Cliff Lee had given up 2 hits and 1 walk. Mark Buehrle (whose family name must have been given by the same clerk at Ellis Island who gave Bret Favre's family their name -- not that the families of either of these strapping white all-American (but not really) men went through Ellis Island, but if they had gone through Ellis Island, their names were cruel jokes by someone who didn't want kids or bloggers to be able to spell or pronounce last names, but I digress) had given up 3 hits and 2 walks.
All in record time. Less time than it took you to read this paragraph. Seriously.
The difference was that Cliff Lee had given up a run, whereas Mark Buehrle, like every pitcher who had come before him since 1924, had blanked the Phillies.
But then I turned on the TV. And everything changed. Instantly. Suddenly, the game slowed down to last-two-minutes-of-an-NBA-playoff-game speed. Suddenly, everyone was hitting long bombs against Cliff Lee. Suddenly, every Blue Jay was crossing home plate. And next thing you know, the score was 10-0.
It was a slaughter, and it wasn't pretty. The inning started with Edwin Encarnacion hitting a deep fly to center field that maybe could have been caught by Ben Revere . . . if he hadn't first decided it was a home run and given up on the ball. He eventually realized it wasn't a home run, so he started running full speed, but at that point, the ball was past him. More evidence that Ben Revere's speed is the only reason he's a passable outfielder, because he really doesn't judge fly balls well at all.
Then the rest of the batters Lee faced played a game of hitting long fly balls to all parts of the park. Erik Kratz hit a deep home run to left field. Dioner Navarro hit a deep fly ball also to left that was a single. Juan Francisco hit a long home run to right. Steve Tolleson hit a deep fly ball to center that was a double. It seemed that anyone who went to the plate would hit a long fly ball against Lee. Heck, I could have hit a ball to the warning track in the seventh inning of tonight's game against Lee. Maybe my 8 year old son could have too.
At this point Mario Hollands enters the game, with the Phillies down by 5. Hollands, not realizing his job is to stop the bleeding, walked Jose Reyes, then struck out Melky Cabrera on a wild pitch. Cabrera reached first, and Hollands' night was done.
In came my new buddy Shawn Camp, who did his best Cliff Lee impersonation. That would usually be a great thing for a reliever to do, but instead, tonight that meant giving up hits and long fly balls. Jose Bautista singled to left, then Edwin Encarnacion got his 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th bases . . . of that inning. He hit a no-doubt-about-it home run to center, making the score 10-0. No word on whether Revere ran after this one.
Camp was able to get the last five outs of the game after that, but those were as meaningless outs as they come in baseball. The formidable lineup of Nix, Revere, Rollins, Galvis, Ruiz, and Gwynn shocked everyone by meekly making outs in the eighth and ninth, and that was that.
Another disaster of a game, another non-existent offense, and another loss.
And you can blame me all you want.
See if you can figure out where the bottom of the 7th is on this graph: