Phillies Squander Opportunities In Loss To ‘stros – Phillies Nation
2012 Game Recaps

Phillies Squander Opportunities In Loss To ‘stros

Recognize this guy? Well, the Phillies made his final line look a lot better than he pitched tonight. Photo: AP

In this life, three things are guaranteed: Death, taxes and the Phillies struggling against an inferior Astros team in September. Phillies fans were subjected to another expose on the latter tonight, as the Phils fell to the Astros 5-0–their second loss in three games against a glorified Triple-A team. Unlike Thursday’s agonizing loss, in which the team let a lead slip away late, this game had a more somber feel. The Phils lacked energy from the start, got down early and never really seemed to be in the game. They essentially could have ended the game after the first inning.

Cy Kendrick? Not Tonight

– Let’s face it, Kyle Kendrick wasn’t going to pitch like vintage Roy Halladay forever. Over his last six games before tonight, Kendrick posted a 1.49 ERA, but also posted a .204 BABIP. While he’s been very good, he’s also been very lucky. He was due for a letdown game. But boy did it come at the wrong time for the Phillies.

– The Astros jumped out in front early on a first inning home run by Justin Maxwell. The homer came on a changeup–which has been the pitch that has spurred Kendrick’s hot streak–that came in flat and over the inner half of the plate. It was an all around bad pitch, and looked to be a sign of things to come, as Kendrick also labored through the second inning (giving up another run). He pitched well through the third and fourth, but surrendered another run in the fifth before being lifted. He probably could’ve gone another inning, but with the Phillies down 4-0, and with little margin for error, Manuel opted to go to the ‘pen.

The Bats Resemble Times Of Old

– Before tonight, Astros starter Dallas Keuchel was 1-7 with a 5.35 ERA. In 70.1 IP, he struck out just 31 hitters while walking 33. He has been far from an effective pitcher this season. The Phils should’ve shelled him. Of course, that’s not how things went down.

– They were not without their chances against the lackluster left-hander, however. During his 5.1 innings of work, the Phillies had runners reach in every inning, the leadoff hitter on four times, and twice loaded the bases. During that span, they left 16 runners on base and scored a grand total of zero runs. They looked like the team we saw so often during the first five months of this season–taking a bad approach at the plate and routinely failing to come up with a clutch hit. The fact that Keuchel went only five plus innings, despite the fact that the Phils were unable to score against him, speaks volumes about how average he was on the mound. The Phillies simply let him off the hook.

– The offense wasn’t any better against the Astros bullpen, which had a collective 4.67 ERA, ranking 28th in baseball. It was a frustrating night from start to finish, and one this team is almost certain to regret. The entire night was a big wasted opportunity–a microcosm of the Phillies’ 2012 campaign. They left a grand total of 23–TWENTY-THREE!–runners on base.


– The Phillies really couldn’t afford to lose this game. The Pirates won, the Brewers are up big, and either the Dodgers or Cardinals will win another game tonight. With the loss, the Phils will lose ground on three of the teams in this wild card chase. When we look back upon this season, if the Phillies fail to make the playoffs, this series will definitely stand out in the minds of many. Sure, there have been plenty of opportunities blown throughout this season. But facing a very bad Houston team, and with St. Louis and L.A. going head to head, this set of games was a great opportunity to build on the momentum the Phils had over the last week and a half. It was not meant to be.

Game Notes

– The Phillies desperately need to win tomorrow. Desperately. They’ll be behind the right arm of Roy Halladay (10-7, 4.01). The Astros will send Jordan Lyles (4-11, 5.33).

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  1. Nate

    September 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Did they have diekman hit in the 9th?? Someone explain that reasoning to me if gameday is correct.

  2. cxl72

    September 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    lets hope the astros battle the cardinals the way they have the phillies

    • Ken Bland

      September 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Ya just knew this thought was gonna pop up sometime soon.

      Not that you can blame someone, but ya know…all the games are played on the field, and any other rationalizations thinking the Astros, for 6, no less against the Cards, and Cubs, for 3 will be of help…well, they just seems like wastes of hope.

      Aw, ya never know, I guess, but of course those games are pointless, unless the Phils win. And the worry about all the Houston success against the Phils in recent years that equalled fears, I think are more rightly placed toward the Met series based on the way the season series has gone. Not that prior results matter, but it’s a troubling thought.

      We’ll see how it shakes out. You’d think they’d bounce back today. Gotta start somewhere.

  3. Andrew from Waldorf

    September 16, 2012 at 12:06 am

    AFW gets home puts on Dodgers/Cards and the Dodgers tie the Cards with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th down 3-2.

    Sorry I missed the Phils tonight.

    I cant watch every game.

    • Ken Bland

      September 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

      “Sorry I missed the Phils tonight.”

      Trust me unconditionally when I tell you that you are not sorry you missed the game. If you lost 2 million dollars* at the track, you had a better night than you would have watching that game. You won’t hear anywhere near the cries over the Sunday night Braves game after last night’s wasted opportunity.

      One team in baseball was shutout last night. One.

      *Personal opinion, not actual financial data to be taken as fact.

  4. Andrew from Waldorf

    September 16, 2012 at 12:08 am

    And the dodgers win.

    I will be missing Tuesday Phillies game too.
    So be warned.

  5. steve

    September 16, 2012 at 3:21 am

    this game was a HUGE JOKE for the phillies. Such a let down.

  6. George

    September 16, 2012 at 8:21 am

    The Phils have NEVER been able to hit slop left-handers. I wish that they had a real hitting coach; someone who could actually figure out why they’re so bad against junk ball lefties and forceful enough to change their approach.

    If this game looked like those from earlier in the year, it’s only because this team of minor-league call-ups isn’t really any better in most respects. They’ve just been playing better than their abilities, and that almost had to change. It really has little to do with playing the Astros, but is more a return to the norm. Replacing the likes of Vic, Pence and Polanco with platoon players such as Schierholtz, and AAAA guys like Frandsen doesn’t usually improve things long-term, and a mostly rookie bullpen is going to make some mistakes.

  7. Lefty

    September 16, 2012 at 9:16 am

    We started the weekend with the best case scenario being that we could be 2 games out by Monday morning. Because we lost 2 games that is no longer possible, and this is precisely the situation that has made me so leery about our chances. The best we can do today is stay the same, 3 games back. We can’t cut into the lead because we are fighting two teams at the top with the exact same record that are playing each other. It doesn’t matter who wins LA or St Louis, we can’t gain ground. And this doesn’t even take into account the Pirates and Brewers who are still in front of us, and Milwaukee has a game in hand.

    And that’s why it’s so different than 07, and why I’ve been such a spoilsport through this whole thing. I should probably apologize to one and all for that, I could have just not commented at all the past ten days. I promise not to say “I told you so” when it’s over, I desperately want to be wrong about this, I really do. This season was lost by a bunch of accrued loses throughout the season, not last night. We’re still tied for the hottest team in the
    baseball the last ten games, they had to lose a couple, I think it was George that said the law of averages would catch up to us, not the Astros.

    The good news is the worst case scenario can’t happen either, at the start of the weekend we it was possible to end up 5 games back, but the worst we can be with another loss today is 4 games back.

    We can still be proud of our guys, save for last night, they have fought back from the depths valiantly.

    • Ryne Duren

      September 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

      i feel the same way lefty! and although i’d like to disagree with george on the law of averages, i’m not going to. what would be the point. he may be right anyway.
      i had a bad feeling going into this series and i’m not expecting anything from todays game either. them we play the freakin mets! we lose 2 of 3 from them . let the fat lady start to sing out loud! she’ll be singing a song i’ve been dying to hear. “let the ruf man play”
      i’m a big howard fan. but at this point cholly should seriously think about either pinch hitting for him against a lefty, or starting someone else against one. and posibly slide somebody inbetween utly and howie to break that combo up! i’m sick and tired of lefty’s coming out of the pen and stifiling us. cholly makes it too easy to manage against us! and for the love of god whats kratz doing down so far in the order?

      • Ryne Duren

        September 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

        as much as i dislike rollins for not being consistant all year and his laziness. i will say this. at least jimmy has shown up! he’s turned his game up a notch and i give him kudo’s for that! cholly on the other hand has shown up too and that’s ashame.ruf should start over wiggy in left! we don’t even know if wiggy will be here do we? and we already know his capabilities. so why start him in left? it makes no sense! we don’t know much about ruf but why don’t he give him a chance? we didn’t know about kratz and fransden either but they came on and played extremely well. they might not be able to do it over a long season. but in a short stretch of 30 or so games they’ve showed up big! if he gives ruf a chance and he does the same we could go to the playoffs! he won’t be available for them i don’t think but maybe he could help get us there.

      • George

        September 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

        Using Wigginton in left was done for two reasons, both of them sensible. Manuel was playing a rightie bat against a leftie pitcher. Ruf is not only a leftie bat, but he’s an inexperienced one against ML pitching. Also, Ruf has had very little playing time in the outfield. Manuel is still trying to win games, and that’s usually done with experienced players that you have knowledge of. Had someone else played rightie vs. leftie, and experience instead of inexperience, it wouldn’t even have been an issue.

  8. Chuck A.

    September 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Lefty, you can say “I told you so” if you want to .. I just might. I would say that if they win today they have a pulse…a weak one but still one that doesn’t require life support. Lose and they’re done…call the paramedics and the priest of your choice.


    September 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    The luster turns to tarnish. Kendrick back to the old Kendrick. The run might be over. Just stay at 500 for the rest of the year and let Ruf play. Howard stinks these days. Looks terrible at the plate.

    • Ken Bland

      September 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      How can you conclude Kendrick’s run is over after 1 unsuccessful start, in which he did settle down, rather than failing the entire time he pitched?

      I hardly think there’s reason off that to think there’s any less of the highest accolade he’s gotten in the 5 or so weeks since most wanted him bounced for Cloyd, and perhaps rightly so which is to be pretty confidently counted on for the 4 slot in the ’13 rotation.

      I don’t see much reason not to be at a minumum cautiously optimistic about his next couple starts. He fails in them, then he’s rippable, even though we, and I mean we, have already ripped him more than any player should be ripped for a lifetime, let alone a career.

      Also, at the risk of sounding like a first class excuse maker, I wondered about something before his start last night. It’s the first time he’s pitched in Houston, his hometown, since he became a good pitcher, albeit a short stretch. Maybe it’s not impossible he was trying to impress some old friends and coaches at the game that took him off the task at hand. I know that’s probably ridiculous, but it’s proibably not 100% ridiculous.

      • George

        September 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

        Adding to Ken’s thoughts, I submit that if Hamels or Halladay had 5 great outings, then a dud, nobody would be saying their run might be over.

        In defense of Mr. Shart, however, I do have to point out to Ken that he did say “might,” he didn’t say “definitely.”

      • Lefty

        September 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

        I’m not entirely sure, but I think Bart meant the club’s run might be over, not Kendrick.

      • Ken Bland

        September 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

        Might be right about meaning the team, and not Kendrick.

        Good excuse to rant though. I live by the credo why let the truth interfere with a good rant.

        But kidding aside, I think you’re right. Good catch. Advanced reading has always been a problemma around here.

      • Lefty

        September 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

        “good excuse to rant”

        Agreed 🙂

  10. Andrew from Waldorf

    September 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    They have a pulse.

    The astro series was tough coming in. I told you so.

    Go phils Ill watch today so maybe they can win.

  11. Brooks

    September 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Yes and to beat a dead horse here:
    Astro’s are 27th in the league in pitching ERA, giving up an average of 4.66 runs per game.
    The Astros are 28th in the league in team hitting, with a resounding .238 batting average as a team and 124 hrs.
    While the Phils are 11th in pitching with a 3.86 ERA and 14th in batting with a respectable .257 team batting average.
    The Astros will NOT play the Cards hard, they never do. The Astros have the absolute WORST W-L record in baseball and hopefully today, they will lose game 100 with 16 left to play.
    Team needs Ryan Howard and the outfield to make some contributions offensively.

  12. Andrew from Waldorf

    September 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Just wanted to say I told yuo so for Chuck.

    Also at some point I am still hoping the old man will start Ruf at first vs left handers.
    Or even pinch hit him for the regular first baseman vs a left handed hitter late in a game.

    It is mind boggling and frustrating that this isnt just a given.

    Make up some stupid excuse to why the reg first baseman who has a sub .310 slugging pct and .167 batting average vs lefties cant face them anymore.
    His foot is prevetning from hitting lefties?
    Whatever reason it doesnt matter.
    Be creative.

  13. Ken Bland

    September 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    The law of averages is a tricky concept. Where it applies, is to the Josh Hamiltons of the world, who finished May hitting .420, with 30 homers and some similarly ungodly total number of ribbies. Way back when, in a different game played under the name of the same sport, guys might have parlayed that into full season totals. But with at least a basic similarity to today’s game dating back to somewhere between 1950 and 1970, the law of averages told us that Josh, barring some ridiculous PED in a day and age where those suckers are tested strictly (or so it’s reported), you knew he’d cool off, even to still ridiculous, but human levels. So it wasn’t a crime to think law of averages on him, or any hot individual at any season’s start in the last several decades.

    But this law of averages application to the Phillies recent successful play is collectively ludicrous. If I told you prior to the club’s 7 game win streak, inclusive of soft competition that they’d win 7 straight, where was the law of averages fan club then saying that wasn’t happening after 1,2 and 3 wins. And how do you account for what I have no doubt is a smattering of double digit win streaks, and high percentages over 15-20 games that have taken place, and no doubt by probably a minimum of over half that didn’t have parades. You look at the Phils on paper, and say the chances of them winning around 18 of the last 21 is slim, it ain’t no law of averages as much as a talent question. Has the law of averages caught up with the Oakland A’s? The Baltimore Orioles? The law of averages didn’t stop the Phils from losing 2 of 3 to Houston. No law of averages, no psychological application of past nightmares that has seen the Phils play at about a 23-34 pace against Houston the last 6 or so years stopped them then. Playing down to the competition, overconfidence, all misplaced as well. If anything, last night, they pressed, or tried too hard after a certain point.

    I will add to the long line of probably 1, that has threatened to voice “I told you so,” that’s adorable. This is not a stupid fan base. There wasn’t any overwhelming hallucination at year’s start about this club. And the math since freaking June has told us the party was over. But baseball isn’t like death. You can die and come back. And when you come back, it is both right and proper to see the spark, and think of ways it might grow ablaze. Oh, you can work on your E-A-G-L-E-S chant instead, or make up for lost time at the shore, but there isn’t one person on this site that stuck around, and flatly said, “The Phils are making the playoffs” when this fun run started. If you took the likes of Andrew planning the parade, and his invite list as serious, you need a course in Sense of Humor 101. I told you so should fall on ears that are deafer than deaf.

    Win the game today, and see what happens. Even though the post season is unlikely, to me, that’s the most practical approach.

    • George

      September 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      No one called their recent win streak a law of averages thing. It’s merely been pointed out that a team of nobodies which suddenly wins a bunch is playing above average, and will come back down. A team that gets lucky for an extended stretch will eventually have some bad breaks. We all know the Phils haven’t had the talent all season to play like they have for this particular stretch.

      It’s not the wins that are the law of averages, it’s the return to the norm, which IS average.

  14. Craig

    September 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    astros bitch slap us everytime. they own us like dipsy and his partner.

    god you need to step up and take the ball and shove it down there throat.

    ryan howard is not a clutch player. he is a strikeout player with his power decreasing.

    would love to get rid of him and free that salary. big goon. do some more subways


  15. Eric

    September 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Time has fimally come when the Team management shouldn’t have anymore doubts that Charlie M. can’t be Manager any longer. The team has talent, players, pitching and the spirit to win but without the leadership to actually lead and manage the Team to win against the team with the worst record in all of pro baseball. Then the higher mangement must take action …..
    Let’s face the facts that without a manager that can make decisions that win games and not lose them then this team will continue to fail at the very game they could play and Win.Lets all await the next season with baited breath and hope for the hard decisions to be finally made. I’m a steadfast PHILLIES FAN forever………………….

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