It never really felt like the Phillies were in this one. After Halladay gave up 4 runs in the second inning, we might as well have changed the channel. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was on opposite the game tonight. That might have been a more productive way to spend an evening.
First of all, credit where credit’s due–Tom Gorzelanny pitched quite well, and the Cubs managed to rough up one of the premier starters in the NL to the tune of six runs in as many innings. But that’s not the whole story.
Even after that second inning, the Cubs had trouble breaking it open until the later innings. The Phightins came back to drop two runs on Gorzelanny in the fifth, but a ballistic missile from Alfonso Soriano stretched the lead back to 6-2. Then they got another run on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly in the top of the 7th, but in the bottom half of that inning, the wheels came off. J.C. Romero gave up two runs without retiring a batter, and David Herndon, in relief of Romero, surrendered another three runs to stretch the Cubs’ lead to eight.
It’s not like the Phillies weren’t hitting–it’s just that everything that got hit hard was right at someone, and, once again, that bugbear of hitting with runners in scoring position came back to haunt Philly. Jayson Werth struck out with a runner on second to kill a rally in the fifth, and Ben Francisco, after Werth worked a walk to put runners at the corners with two outs in the seventh, Ben Francisco showed a profound disdain for reaching base, chopping to third to end the inning. All told, Philly left 17 men on base. Late solo homers by Greg Dobbs, Ben Francisco, and Ryan Howard made the score, if not the game, a little less ugly.
In jilted ex-girflriend news, All-Star hero Marlon Byrd was hit by two more pitches, making it six HBP in as many games for the Cub center fielder. The man Ed Wade once traded for Endy Chavez scored thrice without recording a hit.
11-6 is your final. The loss drops the Phillies back into third place in the division and leaves them two games out of the wild card. At least the Cubs don’t play “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis after every run.