There’s really nothing certain about the Phillies this season. There are no rock solid performances, impenetrable defenses, or dependable strengths. There’s just a ragtag group of competitors and spare parts who are not going to band together at the last minute and turn their season around.
The last man to call out in our roll call of failure was Jonathan Papelbon, the $50 million closer. It doesn’t matter what degree of buffoonery gets us to the ninth inning; how we manage to slap four or five runs on the scoreboard isn’t his business. However, it is his business to politely see our way out with our oft-times disgustingly acquired lead intact.
Seriously, Jonathan, you don’t want to know the things we had to do to get that lead. Awful things. Unknowable things.
R.A. Dickey and Cole Hamels let everybody engage in a seven inning slap fight while they tried to not let more than a run or two slip by at a time. Cole finished his seven having K’d seven, given up two home runs, and laying down seven of the final eight batters who dared cross him.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins continued his Do Shut the Hell Up campaign, going 3-for-3 with a sinister RBI triple, a double, two RBI, and a pair of walks. Guy didn’t meet a base he didn’t like last night. Even Cole socked a couple of base-touchers and got to scamper home on Jimmy’s triple.
All in all, with nine men left out to die on the base paths, the Phillies seemed to have come through enough times to outweigh any of their failures. Then, of course, Jonathan Papelbon relieved a suspiciously untouched Antonio Bastardo and handed out a lead-off double to Ike Davis.
The whole thing stunk like the wrong end of an epic comeback. Davis stood out there, cackling with insidious glee, protruding off second base like an infected wart. Ronny Cedeno bumped him over to third, only to watch Kirk Nieuwenhuis K himself to death in a clutch moment.
Two outs for the $50 million man.
Naturally, Papelbon celebrated the key moment by striking Jordany Valdespin with the baseball, and with first base not at all open, walked Ruben Tejada. Daniel Murphy strode to the plate, cocky like a 40-year-old man still drawing inspiration from that fight he won in fifth grade by kicking a kid in the back. He sharply shat out a grounder that bounced off Papelbon’s glove, and then his foot, and then he fell over, and the whole thing was so atrocious that they probably just would have given the Mets the tying run even if it somehow hadn’t scored.
Still two outs.
And then suddenly, there were no outs, because David Wright was at the plate, and the stench of overwhelming failure intensified so much that Hunter Pence couldn’t make a cervine dash to catch Wright’s hideous blooping heroism that blorped it’s way off the bat and probably made a fart noise when it hit the grass in shallow right.
Moments like that one will be forgotten when the Phillies are sellers at the deadline. But they will be the reason we got there.
When it all Went Wrong
The second that Daniel Murphy grounder didn’t carom off Papelbon’s leg and go immediately into Ty Wigginton’s glove, defying all forms of human science that acknowledged and accepted over the last 100 years.
Most Attractive Play
Here’s a twist: R.A. Dickey. I entered this game under the impression that our sorry crew would be raw hamburger meat by the end of the 4th, their skulls rattled beyond repair by the loping mechanics of the sinister knuckleballer. Instead he gave up a season high number of hits with 11. Thanks for letting us think we had a shot, Dickster.
And kudos to Cole, for swinging his sack back out to the hill for another go at it in the seventh after already chucking 109 pitches. Here’s hoping we get to see you do that again for many years. Only with better results. And still wearing our uniform.
David Wright, once more, haunting us with a 3-for-5 night, knocking in four runs including the game winner, breaking into our homes, kidnapping our families, holding them hostage in exchange for the launch codes, refusing to listen to reason, and then falling off a skyscraper and getting impaled on a church steeple after a sword fight in the rain.
Guy is a classic antagonist.