1. A sadomasochist.
2. A really big/drunk/completely immobilized Phillies/Mets fan.
3. A beat writer.
Those are the only logical explanations, especially after Sunday's poorly-played 4-3 loss to New York in 11 innings, which came on the heels of two straight 14-inning affairs, each game more grotesque than the one before.
These two teams are so bad, they cancel each other out.— SG. (@itsStephGee) June 1, 2014
Three straight days of Mets/Phillies extra innings is the baseball equivalent of a three-for-one deal at Little Caesar's.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 1, 2014
Is this the worst series in major league history? Ineptitude and lots of it, and a game still to go— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) June 1, 2014
"Now pitching for the Phillies, number forty-nine, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos."— Zoo With Roy (@zoowithroy) June 1, 2014
Phillies just lost 3 of 4 to a team whose ace's weight is 31 points higher than the team's batting average— Matt Mizanin (@BroadStPhanatic) June 1, 2014
Yeah, it's been a fun weekend.
How did the Phils screw this one up? Let us count the ways.
Cole Hamels was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 7th with a runner on second and one out, having thrown 125 pitches. Removing him was a no-brainer. Up stepped Domonic Brown as a pinch-hitter, and he laced a single to left field. Cesar Hernandez, who had reached on a bunt single, was stopped at third. Brown rounded first and broke for second, seeing as the throw from the outfield went straight to home plate.
Unfortunately, Brown's hustle turned into a critical base running gaffe, as Travis d'Arnaud fired to second, hanging up Brown, who was then tagged out between first and second. So, instead of runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, there was a runner on 3rd with two out. Ben Revere grounded weakly back to the pitcher, and game remained 2-2.
"[Brown] was thinking that there was a play at the plate, but Cesar had to freeze on the ball over [David] Wright," Sandberg said. "And then, [Brown] turned too wide. Cesar had to freeze there. It was high enough that he had a late break. As you get to the bag and round it, you pick up and see what's happening over at third base."
"I just saw the throw going over his head," Brown said. "I think I made the right read, only thing is I should have stayed in the rundown a little bit longer, see what can happen with maybe a bad throw or Cesar may score on that." (quotes per MLB.com's Erik Bacharach).
Putting the "fun" in fun-damentals. Good thing the team has worked so hard on them.
But that wasn't all. The Phillies committed two errors on the day, the first a Jimmy Rollins error that led to the Mets' tying run in the 6th. Reid Brignac committed an error in the 7th, which was then quickly followed by a throwing mistake by Hernandez, filling in for a resting Chase Utley, that prevented a double play from occurring.
Finally, because the bullpen had been stretched to the limit in the previous back-to-back 14-inning games, the Phillies were forced to call up, and then utilize, the erratic Phillippe Aumont in the top of the 11th. After retiring the first two batters, Aumont walked d'Arnaud (who was hitting a robust .193 at the time), and then served up a go-ahead, game-winning two-run home run to pinch hitter Lucas Duda.
The Phillies would answer in the bottom of the 14th with a Marlon Byrd homer, but it wasn't enough. They needed two runs. Marlon only got them one.
Frankly, it's probably for the best. Any more baseball today and both managers and players probably would have found something sharp on which to impale themselves.
But, Marlon also did this a little earlier.
The three bright spots for the Phils were the bullpen, the pitching of Hamels and another home run by Ryan Howard. Hamels went seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits, eight strikeouts and four walks, lowering his ERA to 4.01. Howard, after an ugly 0-for-11 the last two games, hit his fourth homer in his last seven games, a two-run shot that gave the Phillies a brief 2-1 lead.
On the season, Howard is now one of three N.L. players (along with Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig) with at least 11 HRs and 39 RBIs. Of course, he's also hitting .229 on the season with a .302 on-base percentage, so let's not start throwing ticker tape parades just yet.
But man, when Howard gets hot, it is a beautiful thing to behold.
And finally, there was the 'pen. Aumont and Antonio Bastardo's implosions aside this weekend, they were outstanding, having given up just three runs in 21.1 innings.
The Phillies are now 24-30 on the season, six games out of first and now two games behind the Mets for 4th place in the NL East. They are 12-18 at home this season, and their -32 run differential is third-worst in the National League, better only than Pittsburgh and Arizona.
Here's a graph.