When I was a kid, I had a birthday party with all the cool kids in my class. It was the first time I was having kids who weren’t related by blood over for box social of any kind, so it was kind of a big deal. There were LEGOs. There were party favors. There were uninhibited guessing games. It was the social event of the season.
Then the clown showed up and everything to a turn for the disturbingly intoxicated.
Clearly drunk, he proceeded to take a scoop of the cake out with his bare hand, challenge the Klausen kid from next door to a fist fight, and made off with a few of my LEGO sets with higher street value. The display was made even more traumatizing as my father whispered to my mother that he hadn’t even hired a clown.
The 22-7 party the Phillies have been throwing since July 22 has come screeching to a halt. The Houston Astros became out personal drunken clowns as we got swept out of our own home for the first time since Citizens Bank Park became a building. Blame the umps (you could), blame Kyle Kendrick (you always can), but as I stated yesterday, you don’t have to be Bill Baer to point out that the Phillies have failed in one particularly critical area for a team desiring to make the playoffs.
It’s our party, and we’ll not score any runs if we want to.
Astros 5, Phillies 1
You know what’a harder than beating a team that’s under .500? Beating any one of the 10 National League teams that are better.
What was Ryan Howard’s thing this series? 1-for-12? Probably worse? And how many times did he strike out? I’m currently writing this without an internet connection so the info isn’t right at hand as usual, so my generalizations and grossly miscalculated statistics will have to replace “common sense” and “actual information” for now.
I do know that Ryan struck out a shitload of times. That’s not a fact you need the internet to back you up on. Knowing he went down five times in one game (I’d mention the Scott Barry hissy fit doesn’t count, but he probably would have struck out anyway even if Barry had claimed he didn’t go around on strike 3) is enough to be sure that this series absolutely blew for Howard.
But it also must have blown for everyone else because these coveted starters we were so excited to get back have returned to a lineup that was doing just fine without them. Now, they’re in the batting order and suddenly nobody hits anymore. I hate to get all “Agent Scully,” but I’m sure there’s a scientific answer for this.
Or maybe there’s not. Maybe there’s just no formula to explain how the Phillies get better and get worse at the same time. They’re streaky. But what explains streakiness? Immaturity and/or patience at the plate? God knows Shane Victorino seems to only have the will power to see three pitches before inevitably striking out on a pitch so far out of the zone it shows up on air traffic control radar. Either that or he dribbles one down to third an “Aw, shucks”-it back to the dugout.
What happened to you, Shane? I used to have respect for you. I had to have it from at least 100 yards away at all times, sure, but it was still there. Now I don’t know. It’s like you [continue to] not know I exist.
They say good pitching beats good hitting. Well, clearly no mantra that ranks the various facets of baseball can be right all the time. We obviously have good pitching–three aces, and an increasingly solid Joe Blanton. But these guys are having their quality starts as wasted as my birthday clown, and for what? And why?
If we’re standing on the cusp of a yet another downward spiral, this 2010 season may not be able to take it, and its nobody’s fault but the bats. And the baserunning lately. And Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen sometimes.
These Padres are even better than the Astros (which again, is not very hard to be). We can’t get our shit together against Ed Wade’s Ex-Phillie Brigade, how can we do it against a team whose managed to get into first place in their division?
But with the sporadic appearances the offense tends to make, we could very well have a 20-run inning, then follow it up with a 7-0 loss the next night. Who the shit knows.