Citizens Bank Park —
It can only be described as one word: long. It took 16 innings to play a baseball game and in the end, the team you root for, lost. Ryan Howard was ejected in the 14th, so too was Ross Gload (from the bench, not to mention the DL; both guys were tossed after a questionable check-swing call). Roy Oswalt played left field. Raul Ibanez played first base. It was one of those Friday the 13th-type evenings at Citizens Bank Park. In the end, the Phillies were unable to overcome an inept offense (and umpiring crew) and dropped the epic battle to Houston, 4-2.
In the 16th, the Astros got two runs off of a winded, but game, David Herndon to take the lead and send the faithful home well after midnight. You’ll get an in-depth breakdown of the crazy particulars behind the 5 hour, 20 minute game from the one and only Jayson Stark, so this recap is much shorter and not as pretty.
To summarize this beautiful mess of a game, the Phillies offense couldn’t figure out an entire group of below-average pitchers. Jimmy Rollins did supply some heroics in the 9th inning with a game-tying home run, however, seven innings later, the Phillies were unable to muster another run. The wildness continued until the very end, hell, even Roy Oswalt made a putout in left field. They used all of their relief pitchers, all of their position players, and a lot of energy.
In the clubhouse following the game, Ibanez, Werth, and Herndon all looked absolutely spent. Raul said over and over he’s never been part of a game like this that he can remember.
Way back when, Cole Hamels started against Bud Norris.
Hamels went seven innings, making one lone mistake to Carlos Lee in the fourth inning, which he ripped for a home run. Other than that, it was the same solid Cole we’ve become accustomed to this year. Only problem, backing him was the same old offense we’ve become familiar with during his starts. Hamels struck out eight in those seven frames, allowing just five hits and a walk – yet, it still wasn’t enough for a win. Instead, he’ll have to wait some more. What’s another five days – Hamels has already patiently hung on since July 11 without a win.
What’s going on in Hamels head as his offense continues to fail him time and again? He won’t divulge his inner-most secrets pertaining to this criminally offensive showing (get it?), but it has to be weighing on him.
The mental mistakes also continue to add up with this team. Over the past few seasons, the Phillies have been sound defensively and on the basepaths, but this year is a completely different story. In the seventh inning, with Jimmy Rollins at second base and Placido Polanco at first following back-to-back walks, a double-steal was called for. J-Roll was subsequently gunned down at third base, putting two outs on the board during Chase Utley’s at-bat with lefty Tim Byrdak. Utley’s fly out to right field ended the quick threat.
Bud Norris wasn’t as efficient and effective as Cole Hamels. but he was able to keep Houston in it. Norris, who came into the game with an ERA above five, gave up an RBI-double to Raul Ibanez, and that was it. He gave the Phillies opportunities to strike (five hits, three walks over six innings), but minimized the damage.
A couple of cool things about tonight. It was by far the longest game I’ve ever attended. But, also, seeing at least half of the fans stay until the final out was incredible. Citizens Bank Park was louder than Turner Field at first pitch on any give night. And this was 12:30 am.
As mad as Ryan Howard was, the frustration was absolutely warranted. Let’s hope he’s not suspended for his actions.
Here are some interesting notes for your pleasure. I can’t write another word (and sorry for the mistakes).
-Phillies are 10-6 in extra inning games this year.
-Their run in the 6th snapped a 25 inning streak without a run for Cole Hamels. The last time they scored for Cole was August 1st against Washington.
-Hamels has gone 7 or more innings in 15 of his 26 starts.
-Howard was ejected for only the 2nd time in his career. The other came 5/2/08 against SF.
-Oswalt appeared in LF. It was the first time since August 6, 1971 that a Phillies pitcher appeared at another position. Billy Wilson played 3rd base that day against PIT.