There’s a fine line between optimism and delusion, and right now, anyone who feel this Phillies season is not in serious jeopardy after the team dropped another series, losing to the Mets, 6-5, in walk-off fashion is fooling themselves. The loss was another nail in a Phillies coffin that seems closer to being sealed for good by the day. They’re now ten games below .500 and 13 games back of the Nationals. They finished the road trip 1-5.
PHILLIES RAIN ON DICKEY’S PARADE
– During the months of May and June, R.A. Dickey went 9-0 with a 1.31 ERA. He was the best pitcher in baseball, rolling through lineups with ease, and hypnotizing hitters with a capricious knuckle ball. A possibility to start the All Star game, tonight would be Dickey’s last chance to convince NL Manager, Tony La Russa, he should be his man on the mound on Tuesday night.
– The Phillies got a first inning run off Dickey–the first time Dickey allowed a first inning run since September 2, 2011–and they’d continue to tack on from there. They wound up with five runs on 11 hits–Dickey’s career high for hits allowed–and battled the wily veteran over his seven innings. They were far from the reason the team lost tonight.
HAMELS GRINDS IT OUT
– Cole Hamels’s struggles against the Mets have. been well-documented. Tonight, he’d once again find himself battling to keep the Mets at bay, allowing four runs while throwing 119 pitches over seven innings. The home run he allowed to David Wright in the fifth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 lead seemed like a dagger. But Hamels would be able to stop the bleeding there, and the bats would answer right back, regaining the lead in the top half of the sixth. It wasn’t a dazzling effort by Hamels, but he did enough to put the team in position win.
BASTARDO SETS ‘EM DOWN
– It was peculiar to see Charlie Manuel go with Antonio Bastardo in lieu of a right-hander to start the eighth with Wright and Scott Hairston due up in the inning and the Phillies nursing a precarious 5-4 lead in a game they desperately needed to win. As unconventional as the move seemed, it paid off as Bastardo retired the side in order, effectively bridging the gap between Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. Victory seemed like a lock.
CINCO OCHO AND THE HIGH WIRE MELTDOWN
– The Phillies had to win this game. They had just capped a dreadful month of June, and were in dire straits. Winning their first series of the new month would wash the sour taste out of their mouths, and at least give the team a chance to head in the right direction. Papelbon could not blow this save. A loss in the ninth inning, after losing games by the bundle, would be catastrophic to the team’s psyche. There was no room for error. But the $50M closer was not up to the unenviable task.
He allowed a leadoff double and eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but the lead still intact. In a tension-filled at-bat, Papelbon and the Phillies would become the victim of a little misfortune, when Daniel Murphy lined a ball back through the box, off the foot Papelbon and into foul territory for a single to plate the tying run. The play seemed surreal; a microcosm of the Phillies snake-bitten season so far. Everything going wrong all the time with this team. It’s as though cosmic forces are conspiring against the boys in red pinstripes.
– Phillies killer David Wright would seal the Phillies fate when he blooped a single into right to bring home the winning run. It’s the first time the Phillies lost a game when leading going into the ninth this season. They’ve found another new way to lose a game.
– Following the game, Ruben Amaro announced that Ryan Howard was likely to be activated from the DL tomorrow. I’m sure he’s looking forward to getting into some of these soul-crushing games as soon as possible.