It’s not the ending you conjured up in your head some seven months ago. As pitchers and catchers reported, expectations were tempered following a 2011 season that saw the Phillies win 102 games and make the playoffs for a fifth straight season. But nobody could have believed a 21-game dropoff was in store as baseball began in Clearwater.
Alas, here we are on October 3, 162 games in the books, the Phillies complete their 2012 year split right down the middle, at 81-81 following a 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals.
This game marked the final time Cliff Lee would be killed by his own teammates. All season long, Lee was given little run support, and that continued today as he allowed three runs in six innings while striking out seven. And for the 10th time in ’12, Lee allowed no walks.
After 30 starts, Lee finishes with a 3.16 ERA and a 6-9 record. As impossible as that seems, it’s the hard truth. Cliff Lee won just six games in 2012. This tweet from our own Corey Seidman sums it up:
A few positives to take from this game and the end of the season. Darin Ruf looks like he might be able to play a little in this league. He hit two home runs yesterday and drove a run in today. If he can figure how to play an adequate outfield, he could be quite useful next year.
Kevin Frandsen could be a very nice bench option for the Phillies in 2013. Not sure he’s an everyday player, but he showed flashes of being very good at the plate, finishing with a .338 average.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Papelbon ended on a sour note, giving up a two run home run to Mike Morse and recorded just one out. It was an odd season for Papelbon, who’s numbers look to be alright at first glance. A 2.44 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 39 saves are all well and good, but the guy struggled mightily when asked to keep games tied or pitch from behind. He’ll need to be better next year.
Chooch, Cole, Ryan, Chase, and Domonic will be primed for a bit 2013. Others will not be back, and we wish them well. It will certainly be an interesting offseason and spring training.
And just like that, a string of five straight Octobers with playoff baseball is over. It seems like only yesterday that it all began, with Brett Myers tossing his glove up in the air, tackled by Pat Burrell.
As Boyz 2 Men once said, it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. And we say goodbye to 2012. See you next season.