A magical season for the Phillies continued tonight when their bullpen managed to blow yet another late lead in a 7-4 loss to the Brewers. This is beginning to look awfully familiar, isn’t it?
HARD LUCK CLIFF
– Cliff Lee‘s career against the Brewers has been quite the struggle. Coming into tonight’s game, he was 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA in four starts against them. Earlier this season, they touched him up for six runs in seven innings at CBP. In that game, the Brewers got to Lee late. Tonight, the Brew Crew’s runs would come in the earlier stages of the game.
– They’d score three off Lee in the first four innings. All three runs came on solo homers and two of them were by Ryan Braun. Braun now has three dingers off of Lee this season. I think it’s safe to say he owns him right now.
– Lee would settle in after the fourth, preventing the Brewers from scoring the rest of the way. He’d end up going 7.2 innings, allowing five hits, no walks, and striking out a very impressive twelve batters. He should’ve finished the eighth, but a bad throw by Frandsen and a failure to scoop by Howard allowed Rickie Weeks to reach base with two outs and Braun up. Following the error, Manuel opted to go with Josh Lindblom out of the ‘pen.It’d prove to be the turning point.
– Todd Zolecki tweeted that tonight was Lee’s 13th double-digit strikeout with the Phillies. That ranks him sixth all time. Assuming he doesn’t get traded during his current deal, you have to think he’s got a shot at creeping to the top of that list.
– Frandsen’s error was an unfortunate miscue, but Lindblom compounded it when he walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Things only got worse from there, when Corey Hart sent a grand slam over the right field wall to make it 7-4. Walks always kill a pitcher. Lindblom broke the golden rule of relief pitching: no free passes.
– You have to question the decision to bring in Lindblom over Papelbon there by Manuel. Pap is making a ton of money to pitch this season. There is absolutely no reason not to use him for a four-out save in that scenario. Then again, this is something that’s been going on all season. This loss is as much on Manuel as it is on Lindblom.
– This shouldn’t be painful anymore. We should be numb to this type of disappointment by now. We’ve seen this bullpen blow game after game. They’ve been far and away the worst unit for the Phillies this season. But it still hurts every time.
JIMMY AND THE GANG
– The Phillies scored their first run in the third inning, when Jimmy Rollins showed a little hustle and made something happen: First, he stole second on the first pitch of Chase Utley‘s at bat. Then he caught the Brewers sleeping, and took third without another pitch being thrown. After a walk to Utley, Ryan Howard would hit a ground ball on the right side. The play resulted in an error when Utley barreled down hard on the shortstop and distracted him from receiving the throw to second. The error allowed Rollins to score. Had he not taken third, he wouldn’t have scored on the play. For all the talk surrounding Rollins’s lack of hustle earlier today, he, along with Utley, showed a lot of it in creating the team’s first run. Perhaps the criticism fueled Rollins to play a little harder. Only he knows. But he certainly looked like a different person on the bases tonight.
– The team’s next opportunity for runs would present itself in the fifth inning, when they loaded the bases with two outs and Kevin Frandsen at the plate. After working the count full, Frandsen would double in the gap to left to clear the bases and give the Phils a 4-3 lead. For a while, it seemed like it’d be the decisive hit in the game. I should have known better than that.
– Frandsen would get a shot to redeem himself for his costly error in the ninth when he came to the plate as the tying run with two outs. A home run and it would’ve been total redemption for the 30-year old career Four-Aer. Instead, he’d get a single keep it alive. However, Erik Kratz would follow with a ground out to end it. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Philadelphia Phillies.