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Almost isn’t good enough: Cubs 5, Phillies 4

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Friends, this was a tough one.

Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

When this interminable game ended, my boyfriend had just gotten home from work. We decided to grab fast food since the game had gone on so long that it prevented me from starting dinner. Then we ate dinner. Then I opened a beer and we started watching playoff hockey, but I wanted to finish rewatching the first season of The Carmichael Show, so we did that. I tried on all my sample frames from Warby Parker again (I hate them all, your selection sucks, Warby Parker), and I got another beer, and I played a game on my iPad. All the while, this blank page was staring at me, daring me to write something about this interminable game.

And it was interminable. At the end of the season, when we look back at all of the games the Phillies played, I’m confident that this one will stand out as a perfect example of the team’s problems over the year.

Oh, in case you hadn’t figured it out, the Phillies lost 5-4 in 13 innings. And I’m finally writing about it.

Just like all of the games the Phillies lost against the Cubs this week, this game was winnable at multiple points. They led 3-2 after five innings, having added single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth. In fact, neither team was able to score more than a single run in any inning today.

Well, they led 3-2 after 4 12 innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Zach Eflin allowed a third run, and the game was tied. In no way is this loss on Zach Eflin. That he only allowed three runs against the Cubs is a miracle. He was perfectly fine today.

And that brings us to the first issue that this game illustrated: the offense. It’s not unreasonable for a starter to allow three runs. And it’s perfectly fine for a fourth starter to do that. Eflin went seven innings today, and you wish for a start like. From any pitcher! The offense should have been able to overcome that. They did it once, in the eighth inning to (momentarily) take the lead, but they just couldn’t get anyone to cross home plate. At one point they had the bases loaded with one out and couldn’t get it done. I almost punched a hole in my TV.

This is a great time to bring up the second issue this game made crystal clear: the bullpen is a tire fire. Covered in vomit. Infested by stinkbugs. Topped with full baby diapers. And the carcasses of eight skunks. It was erstwhile closer Joaquin Benoit who gave up the tying run in the eighth inning, right after the Phillies grabbed the lead. And it’s an actual real life miracle that Jeanmar Gomez pitched

Joely Rodriguez was great, considering that Pete “How do I work this bullpen??” Mackanin sent him out there for three innings. And here’s the third and final issue this game brought to the forefront: Pete Mackanin doesn’t really know what he’s doing with the bullpen. Hector Neris kept warming up and warming up but he never came into the game, and that’s because the Phillies never had a lead to protect. There’s no reason for Joely Rodriguez to go out there for three innings when there’s Neris in the bullpen, along with two other guys. Forgive me for not remembering who they are, because at this point, it doesn’t really matter.

It doesn’t matter because the Phillies didn’t win, but also because Joely Rodriguez wasn’t the reason the Phillies lost today. Freddy Galvis threw the ball away on what should have been an easy play. That allowed the winning run to score for the Cubs, ending a game that could have gone on for at least another eleven million innings, ending all of our lives and driving us closer to the heat death of the universe.

The Phillies come back home tomorrow, which is great. Less great: they face the Nationals. AGAIN. WHY GOD WHY.

Here are a few fun tweets from today’s game.

That was insane. Pete may not know what he’s doing, but that was some damn wizardry right there.