Today is one of those days that I could be very discouraged by the Phillies. They lost 2-1 in 11 innings, and were only able to score one run. But there were actually a lot of good things in today’s game, even if the outcome was disappointing. (How did I react to the disappointment? Watching the game in my apartment, I booed loudly and threw cereal at the TV.)
So what were those good things? The pitching, oh the pitching. Jeremy Hellickson had his second great start in a row, hurling six innings and giving up just one run on three hits. Plus, he got seven strikeouts and gave up no walks. That’s right: zero. He had thrown 95 pitches by the time his spot came up in the top of the seventh, and with runners on the corners, Pete Mackanin had no choice but to pull Hellickson for pinch hitter Howie Kendrick.
It was the right move. Kendrick popped a bloop single up the first base line that Brandon Drury badly misread (and thonked into the grass while attempting to catch), and that’ when the Phillies’ lone run scored.
Hellickson’s strong six was followed by two brilliant innings from Luis Garcia. That’s right, two! Three strikeouts and just one hit. Pat Neshek followed him with an effortless nine-pitch inning (he threw six strikes, though he did allow a hit). Joaquin Benoit gave us a heart pounding inning in which he threw way too many balls way too close together. He walked the second batter he faced, and nearly walked the third. He got out of the inning with a strikeout, but it was a sign of what was to come.
Edubray Ramos was so close to being out of the inning. So, so close. He got the first two batters out, but then gave up a a single and a walk. And then Daniel Descalso hit a 1-0 single and the game was over. He was absolutely devastated, and heartbreakingly spent an extra few moments staring at the D-backs celebrating their walk-off win.
Despite that last inning from Ramos, there were a lot of positive things in today’s game. And even though the offense seemed to completely disappear today, they had nine hits, more than the Diamondbacks. Of course, they left eight men on base, but that right there is exactly why they lost the game.
The Phillies are doing their best. They’re not good enough to win most of their battles, but today they put up a good fight against one of baseball’s better teams. There’s no shame in being bested by a superior team. It’s disappointing, but at least you can see the promise of things to come.