The Phillies entered the game tonight with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread; a sign not that the Phillies have been better than expected, but that the baseball season is far, far too long.
David Buchanan would take the mound to face the Braves, a team that was praised for their deft trades and rebuilding moves earlier in the season while the Phillies became the league's most festering word-toilet for not trading Cole Hamels for a sack of Red Sox farts. The transitional periods on both sides left us with a mid-September Atlanta-Philadelphia match-up with far fewer interested parties than there will be when the two cities clash on Monday.
Let's take a moment to gawk at the starter's ERAs for the evening:
- Julio Teheran vs. Phillies: 1.21
- David Buchanan vs. Braves: 3.91
Fortunately, given the Braves' recent failures, Buchanan had a shot at really impressing the hell out of the dozen or so Citizens Bank Park-dwellers trying to kill a Wednesday evening (15,241 to be exact, which is 1270 dozen, and only about 12,000 fewer than the amount of fans watching the Nationals try desperately to win a division they has assumed would just be given to them down the Beltway).
Part of Buchanan's problem is that instead of dancing around the strike zone with grace and precision, he puts fastballs directly inside of it, where hitters can touch them with the bat. Nick Markakis was holding one of those bats to start the game, and used it to clatter a lead-off double around in the left field corner. It was no surprise when Markakis came around to score later in the inning, putting the Phillies down immediately, 1-0.
By the fourth inning, as Buchanan left the game with the bases full of Braves, having given up all four runs, 10 hits, three walks, struck out none, and allowed 14 of the 22 batters he faced to reach base. He lasted 3.1 innings before Jerome Williams had to come in and induce the third Braves double play of the evening - the previous two having been Buchanan's saving grace from an even more hideous line.
The Phillies offense had erupted in the second inning on a Cody Asche ground out that somehow made Julio Teheran hit himself in the face with his own glove. While he did that, Darnell Sweeney scored from third, having hit a triple, or 1/4 of the Phillies hits on the evening.
Williams lasted 1.2 innings after Buchanan took off, followed by Ken Roberts making his Phillies debut for 1.1 innings (he allowed three hits and two earned runs). Next came Dalier Hinojosa, because the game hadn't ended yet, for a real neat two thirds of an inning, and who could forget Nefi Ogando's two hits and three earned runs over the course of an inning, and finally Adam Loewen closed things out with two strikeouts in the top of the ninth.
It was a bad-looking game, folks. Asche made a nice stop after being shifted over near second base. Did I mention it was Bark at the Park night? Even that came with a twinge of melancholy.
The Phanatic is wearing an Elvis wig while dancing to "Hound Dog" with a couple of pooches on the field. Elvis Araujo, sadly, is on the DL.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) September 10, 2015
To avoid mathematic elimination, the Phillies had to win and the Mets had to lose. Neither thing happened. Then, somebody's dog turned out to have rabies and Billy had to take it out behind the shed and euthanize it.