On a night where the Phillies added two young players to their minor league system, we sat and watched a team that has aged before our eyes, and has not aged very well. Almost every fifth day, Cole Hamels' left arm has at least given us a reason to watch this team. There is truly nothing more crushing these days than when Hamels doesn't give us that reason to watch.
It was also not a good night when it came to baserunning, situational hitting and general awareness on the field, the last of which you would expect a veteran like Carlos Ruiz to have down pat.
But, alas, even our heroes have a lapse every now and again. This lapse belonged to Ruiz, who didn't pay attention to one of baseball's most dangerous baserunners.
Yes, Billy Hamilton was doing Billy Hamilton things in the second inning. How much base could a Billy Hamilton base if a Billy Hamilton could steal a base? Very many bases, apparently. Indeed. All of them.
Hamilton stole second, third and home in the second to give the Reds a 2-1 lead, the last steal coming on a play that was tough to watch. With Hamilton on third and Brandon Phillips at the plate, home plate would be Hamilton's. Phillips check-swung on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt with two outs, but ran to first in case he had swung. He had not.
Ruiz threw to first as Phillips jogged down the line on the walk, and Hamilton took off. Ruiz had failed to check Hamilton in his rear-view mirror, and as Ryan Howard received the ball at first, it was simply too late. Ruiz's argument may have been that he didn't get the appeal fast enough from the first base umpire, but he should have checked Hamilton before throwing.
As baseball is a forgiving game, Ruiz made up for things in the fourth, plating
third baseman left fielder Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis on a single to center field, tying the game at three a piece.
Naturally, the night would not be complete without some piling on. As if that DeJesus-for-Sandberg trade wasn't bad enough thirty-some-odd years ago, Ivan DeJesus just had to have a kid who would hurt the Phillies three decades later.
Yes, with a man on in the bottom half of the sixth, Ivan De Jesus Jr. launched a Hamels pitch into the seats in left, giving the Reds a 5-3 lead. It was his first career home run, and it probably brought back a whole lot of feels for a whole lot of Phillies fans. Of course, we finally got Sandberg back all those years later.
Too bad it wasn't the player version of him.
Hamels struggled through his six innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out seven, but threw 120 pitches to get through those six innings. It was a long slog of a night.
Mike Leake's pitching was less than stellar, as he did allow ten hits (!) through six innings (!) against the Phillies (!) lineup. But, of course, on the one night the Phillies decided to get double digits in hits, they decided to put up just four runs. Leake picked up his third win of the year.
The Phillies did once again make Aroldis Chapman sweat in the 9th inning, something that seems to be a bit of a trend since the flamethrower joined the league. Alas, the Phillies' one run in the 9th didn't do enough.
Of course, there's always tomorrow. And tomorrow is not just any day. It's an Aaron Harang day damn it, against his former team, in his former ballpark. Another good start tomorrow, and Harang could put himself in decent shape to return to that very mound for All Star festivities in about five weeks.