Going in, you knew there wouldn’t be much room for error. It would come down to which offense could capitalize on mistakes – or not even mistakes, just which offense could get a timely blooper or seeing-eye single at the right moment. It was the Florida Marlins who had the bounces go their way, not the Phillies as they lost 2-1.
The Roy Halladay/Josh Johnson marquee matchup was as advertised. Two aces going toe-to-toe, unwilling to give an inch. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Halladay gave a millimeter and was hurt by it.
Halladay out-pitched Josh Johnson for seven innings, but ran into trouble in the deciding eighth when his defense did him few favors. In the troublesome eighth with the game tied at one, lead-off batter Omar Infante reached on an error by the normally sure-handed Jimmy Rollins. A sharp grounder just ate him up, forcing him to make a wild throw, which pulled Ryan Howard off the base. Two batters later, Chris Coghlan singled to center field, appearing to break his bat in the process. Infante would score, having moved to second base on a wild pitch by Halladay, which looked catchable.
From there, it nearly got worse as Plaicdo Polanco’s brain fart allowed Hanley Ramirez to reach base. Polanco held on to a sharply grounded ball too long and Ramirez beat it out. Luckily, a disgusted Halladay got through it to at least give the Phillies a chance in the ninth. They were unable to capitalize.
The Phillies lone run came on a beautiful, opposite field home run by Ryan Howard to lead off the second inning. One pitch later, Raul Ibanez doubled to left field and it looked like a big inning was forming around the normally unhittable Johnson. Ben Francisco took a heater off the left arm and Pete Orr walked to load the bases with nobody out. Then, nothing.
Dane Sardinha struck out, Roy Halladay struck out, and Jimmy Rollins grounded out to first base to end the threat.
In the third inning, the Phillies again had the bases loaded and again could not pull through. Pete Orr, the platoon-mate of Wilson Valdez and the seventh hitter in the order, could not come up with a timely hit.
One of the main reasons this lineup has been so inconsistent is because the team has gotten zero production from the bottom of the order and the second base position, which basically go hand in hand.
Halladay’s final line was still pretty; eight innings, five hits, two walks, nine strikeouts. Those two walks came in the bottom of the third, one of them putting pitcher Josh Johnson aboard. Halladay was none too happy about his lapse in location. With the offense seizing, the run given up in that third proved costly.
Johnson got through seven innings, giving up just the one run. He walked three and fanned seven, en route to the no decision.