The theory was that this series would be an important one for the NL playoff picture. Now, all the Phillies can do is throw their body into the gears of the post season machine, hoping to become tangled enough in its parts that they ruin it for everybody.
And with that contagiously positive mindset, the Phillies began a three-game set with the Braves in which they looked, played, and generally seemed like dog shit, as their 273-game long sellout streak came to a blundering end and the Braves ran through them for the seventh time in a row.
Vance Worley came on, fresh off explaining his unwillingness to shut down for the rest of a lost season. After a suffocating first inning, he came out and quickly showed signs of having parts of his arm bones floating around in his elbow. Needless to say, the Braves started knocking him around, and with the help of some shitty umpiring, they ran up a four-spot before Charlie Manuel waved a Raul Valdes-shaped white flag in the fourth inning.
The offense failed to come through early, as Ryan Howard flew out in two big spots, colorfully talking to himself as he returned to the dugout. He then hurled the ball into left field after catching Michael Bourn in a rundown. Chase seemed to be in the middle of every threat, doubling and singling and being stranded by everybody else’s ineptitude.
Dom Brown, hitting second, had the Dom Brownest night of his career; he singled, got hit in the hand, made a terrible throw from left, and took a questionable rout on a line drive. No, the big moment came and went with a Brian Schneider at-bat, who was following a Nate Schierholtz double and a Kevin Frandsen walk (Why don’t people want to come to these games anymore?!), and was a stupidly good Jason Heyward catch away from some runs.
From the other side, Ben Sheets’ 2012 return got another glorious notch–with aid from noted Phillie-Killer Brian McCann–and the Phillies “Let’s Not Finish in Last” campaign suffered yet another setback.
A bright spot was the bullpen; Raul Valdes, recently activated, struck out three of the four hitters he faced without allowing a base runner. Jeremy Horst kept his quiet effectiveness record intact, and Michael Schwimer retired the Braves in order with haste in the eighth, before giving up a monstrous home run to Jason Heyward that broke the Curiosity Mars rover.
The Phils were never really in this one; which was a shame. Early on, they hit Sheets hard, but always into a glove, and did not strike out. At all. But when you look at your lineup card and Erik Kratz isn’t on it, you couldn’t have been expecting much.
When It All Went Wrong
A LOT of choices here. Why don’t we go with that late-inning double John Mayberry watched sail over his head that he was, like, waiting to grab off the angle as it hit the wall, but he either did not comprehend the angle or just really had no idea what the hell he was doing.
Either way, it made him look entirely incompetent, much like Brown’s throw to third and Ryan’s throw to second, both of which landed in the same, “sort of shortstop” location.
Most Attractive Play
I keep thinking there was a slick defensive play but then I remember they were all in the Orioles game I was flipping to during the commercials.
Call it Schneider, I guess? Because for about two glorious seconds you thought he may have tied the game with a three-run homer.
He didn’t, though.
YOU. YOU ARE THE VILLAIN IN THIS STORY.
Also Freddie Freeman.