The tumult and the shouting dies, the Captains and the Kings depart.
The 2014 Phillies finished the season in the most 2014 Phillies way possible: dropping a tough 2-1 loss on an outstanding Cole Hamels. It really couldn't have happened any other way.
With the chance to show an improvement on 2013 on the line, the Phils turned to ace Hamels in the season finale, and he delivered eight strong innings, allowing only two runs, three hits, a single walk and seven strikeouts. He's really really good.
Those two runs came in the first inning. Emilio Bonifacio, of all people, hit a leadoff home run to start the game, because of course he did. A single and stolen base by Phil Gosselin set up an RBI single by Freddie Freeman to score the Braves' second, and last, run.
Hamels settled down at that, allowing only one more hit throughout the rest of the afternoon. Unfortunately, but as per usual, the role of Phillies' offense was played by members of the Phillies' actual offense, who really shouldn't do their own stunts.
The Phils managed to run together six hits off a substantial collection of Atlanta pitchers, as today was evidently Bullpen Day in Atlanta. James Russel pitched four innings, allowing two hits while striking out four. Luis Avilan pitched two innings and allowed a single hit with a pair of strikeouts. Avilan, by the way, got the win, which should be clear evidence that pitcher wins are legitimate and totally valuable statistics.
Anthony Vavaro followed up with scoress inning, bringing up David Carpenter. Freddy Galvis led off with a single. Grady Sizemore, pinch-hitting for Hamels, singled Galvis to third, and Ben Revere... hit into a double-play. Galvis scored, but, well, double-play.
Carlos Ruiz drew a walk, but Chase Utley, failing to follow Larry Andersen's caller, flew out to center.
In the ninth, Jake Diekman took over for Hamels, pitching a perfect inning, with his 99th and 100th strikeouts of the season, in 71 innings pitched. Nicely done, Jake.
In the bottom of the ninth, with the season on the line, the Braves turned to none other than Craig Kimbrel. The Phillies turned to Ryan Howard. Everyone who thinks, without looking, that they know how that matchup turned out raise your hands. Now leave the room, because you were wrong.
Howard singled to right.
Unfortunately, Kimbrel is actually good, and hung on to strike out Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and Cody Asche, ending the inning, the game and the season.
Fangraph of... aw fuck it. Here's Sleeveless Chase Utley.
This is better, anyway.
We will have more season wrap-ups in the days to follow, but I want to highlight a couple things of note here. Hamels' eight innings pitched today pushed him to 204.2 innings this year, his fifth consecutive year breaking the 200 IP mark. And these weren't just hollow "innings-eater" innings, either. Hamels finished his season with an ERA of 2.46 and 198 strikeouts. He's pretty damn good, and he should be a Phillies for a good long time.
Chase Utley was held hitless in three at-bats, but he was hit by a pitch and stole a base. The HBP was his 13th of the year, making this his seventh season with that many or more, and 169 in his career. Utley is now tied with Alex Rodriguez for the 16th most HBPs of all time, one behind Yeah Jeets for 15th.
His stolen base, now, was his tenth of the year. With his single caught-stealing, his career stolen base percent is now an all-time greatest 88.54%. Seriously. For guys who have attempted 80 or more steals, Utley has the highest percentage of steals of all-time.
The loss to Atlanta drops the Phillies to 73-89, matching last year's record. The Braves finished at 79-83, managing to hang on to a tie for second in the NL East with the Mets. Man the NL East sucked this year.
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The Playoff picture is pretty much all set. the National League is sending the Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers as division champs, with Wild Card entrants from the Pirates and Giants. The Junior Circuit is represented by the Orioles, Tigers and Angels as division champs, and the Royals have secured one Wild Card spot. The other will be the Athletics or the Mariners, and their final games have not yet been completed.
Derek Jeter got an RBI single in his last appearance in baseball, so the next time we see him, he'll be President or Pope or God-Emperor or something. All Hail Jeets.
The Nationals finally have their own No-Hitter, thanks to Jordan Zimmermann, who dominated the Marlins in a 10-strikeout no-no.
Finally, I, as a recapper, have significantly underperformed the Phils, finishing at 8-15 in recaps. That's a woeful .348 winning percentage. Hopefully Recap Wins are no more valuable than Pitcher Wins, but that's for you, the readers to decide. I've certainly had fun this year.
So long, folks, and be sure to keep checking in here at the Phight, as we will continue to bring you Phillies and Postseason news throughout the playoffs and the off-season!