Maybe we should concentrate on Ryan Howard’s contract extension after all, because tonight’s 5-1 loss to the Giants turned out to be a real doozy.
I guess we couldn’t realistically expect Roy Halladay to keep winning games by himself all year. Halladay, who until tonight had been doing his best impression of 1968 Bob Gibson, didn’t pitch all that badly but gave up 5 earned runs in 7 innings as the Phillies offense left what seemed like hundreds of runners on base. Already without the services of Jimmy Rollins, Charlie Manuel sat left fielder Raul Ibanez against tough lefty Jonathan Sanchez, a decision that proved to be fateful.
Ibanez’s replacement, Ben Francisco, was a one-man rally killer. Disco flied out to end the third inning with the bases loaded, did the same with runners at the corners to end the fifth, and struck out to end the seventh with the bases loaded again–all told, he left 8 runners on base, 5 in scoring position. The $125 million man himself, Howard, went 0-for-3 with a walk in a performance that the gloom-and-doom crowd will surely call the first step on his road to turning into Mo Vaughn.
Despite the litany of mishaps, a lot of things went relatively well tonight. Struggling leadoff hitter Shane Victorino reached base three times, and the Phillies managed to chase Sanchez by running up his pitch count after only 5 innings. But seldom can a team let up 5 runs, leave 19 runners on base, and expect to win. Giants relievers Guillermo Mota, Jeremy Affeldt, and Tony Sergio Romo picked up Sanchez, and while you hate to lose this kind of game, there will be a few over 162 games where the breaks just don’t go your way.