Why do we do this to ourselves?
All it takes is “not baseball” for us to become convinced that this team can turn it around. The past few days I’ve heard more analysts say “I wouldn’t count the Phillies out yet,” and it is my very strong belief that this phrase is uttered simply because the Phillies have not been playing any games to prove how feeble they are.
When you’re momentum-builder coming back from the All-Star Break is a flaccid contest in which you’re shut down by a rookie with a 75-pitch limit, you can probably go ahead and count yourselves out.
Christian Friedrich was the ace hurler who shut the Phillies down this time, going six incredible innings in his Major League debut, keeping the defending NL East champs (remember?!) at bay with relative ease. Another guy on the Rockies roster whom you’ve never heard of but was also playing in his first MLB game, ever, seriously, was Josh Rutledge, the shortstop, who went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a walk. He didn’t even have his own cleats with him.
“I couldn’t have dreamed it up any better.”
So the Phillies spent another nine inning fulfilling the other team’s dreams, which would be such a nice narrative, if they didn’t have to lose all the time to tell it.
Cliff Lee was the steward selected to lead the Phillies’ charge into the second half. He went six innings, like his counterpart Friedrich, only Cliff’s were filled with hits and runs and various other pro-Rockies sentiments. Nine hits, three runs, two of them earned, and a hideous walk were in his final line. By the time the bullpen entered to clown music in the seventh, nobody would have been surprised or even thrown off by seeing Kyle Kendrick out there.
Which he was, in the eighth, because fuck it. Also because Michael Schwimer gave up three runs upon entering the game in the seventh. Seriously. They were tacking the runs on the scoreboard as he jogged out from the bullpen. I think it’s just part of his entrance music now.
The scoring opened in the second with perennial MVP candidate Josh Rutledge’s RBI double, which Shane Victorino kind of like, swatted at with his glove, or something, but the Phillies and J-Roll answered in their next at-bat with a Mayberry-scoring RBI double of his own. Then Rutledge came back with a sac fly in the sixth, which was all the Rockies needed to start pounding line drives out of Phillies pitching as if it were something they did normally.
Michael Cuddyer put the finishing touches on the masterpiece by tripling in Ramon Hernandez in seventh and then the Phillies put the finishing touches on his finishing touches by allowing him to score on a throwing error by Chooch.
Chase sac flied Jimmy home in the eighth or ninth or something, but at that point, everybody was doing a shot every time the Phillies looked completely inept so we were all pretty much blind. Also John Mayberry got picked off first, which was hilarious.
That’s six straight, for those of you playing at home.
When It All Went Wrong
Pick a moment from Schwimer’s performance when you weren’t numbed by defeat and we’ll call that our climax.
Most Attractive Play
Let’s give it to Jimmy’s triple; a violent slash down the left field line that got your heart racing and fist pounding, but out of “joy” this time, not the anger that would get you kicked out of a Ruby Tuesday.
Jimmy showed some indomitable spirit last night. It was refreshing. Of course it failed to infect anyone else so in the end, he died alone, but hey.
Either of those Rockies greenhorns who had just a great old time out there running roughshod right through us and probably thrilling living rooms full of cackling family members.