Oh god, this game.
As so many do, it started so well. So positively. The Phillies and the Pirates traded runs in the first few innings, and it looked like Aaron Nola might be okay. Until the fifth inning when things started going horribly, horribly wrong. The Phillies had just gotten the lead, and Nola had turned in two scoreless frames, so this wasn’t going to be a big deal, right? Right. The first batter of the inning singled, which was okay. Not a problem if he put a stop to it right then. Then the second batter walked. That’s not so great. And then Nola walked another batter to load the bases, and at that point I yelled at the TV “IT’S TIME TO TAKE HIM OUT, PETE.” But he didn’t. Mackanin kept Nola in to see if he could get out of the mess he made. Yeah, sure, give Nola more rope when his confidence — and the game — is hanging by a thread.
It didn’t go well.
Gregory Polanco singled, which scored two runs and gave Pittsburgh the lead. Mack finally took Nola out and replaced him with Severino Gonzalez, who after a flyout actually hit a batter to load the bases. A single scored both of the runners that Gonzalez inherited from Nola, and than one more run scored for good measure.
Beyond Nola’s tragic start, the Phillies were done in by their almost total inability to hit with men on base. They left 14 men on base today, and they left the bases loaded at least once. Every time an inning ended with the bases full (or nearly) after the guy in the batter’s box was first pitch swinging, I yelled at the TV. I yelled at the TV a lot.
Hey, remember how great Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche were doing before the All-Star break? That was fun, wasn’t it? Well, the fun is apparently over. Since the end of the All-Star break, Bourjos has hit just .135/.154/.189, and Asche has hit .080/.207/.080. WOOF. THAT IS JUST BAD. Look at those numbers. Those are the players they actually are. Hot streaks are nice, but that’s exactly what they are. Neither of these players magically got better. I miss the hot streak, though. It was so much better when they were hitting and I didn’t have to be angry at Bourjos and Asche all the time.
With the way the Phillies have been hitting, there was no way they could have recovered from the Pirates’ five-run inning. Hopefully they can salvage the series today with Vince Velasquez on the mound.