Baseball is 162 grueling games. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. In such a long season, losses and slumps are inevitabilities. No matter how inevitable struggles may be, miscues will never be tolerated by fans or by managers.
Congrats to the Atlanta Braves on their victory today. The Phillies have nobody to blame but themselves. With only one out and Shane Victorino on third, a fly ball was hit into shallow left field. Garret Anderson had to make an excellent catch to record the out. Victorino made the poor decision of standing between third and home, rather than standing on third to tag up and get the easy run. What should have been a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley turns into nothing more than an out. The Phillies failed to drive Victorino home.
Holding a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning, Lidge makes TWO ERRORS on ONE PLAY. First, Lidge bobbled a ground ball, then he decided to throw out the hitter at first base. It was an ill-advised throw, as Lidge didn’t have a chance to get the hitter out. To add insult to injury, the throw was off the mark and Ryan Howard had virtually no chance of catching it. On this play, the game-tying run was scored. Lidge had no choice but to walk the bases loaded and hope for a forced out. He was able to strike out Ryan Church for the first out, but then gave up a game-ending hit by Omar Infante.
If not for Victorino’s baserunning gaffe, Lidge might not have had to walk the bases loaded. If not for Lidge’s two errors, he might not have had to walk the bases loaded. Little mistakes can have huge impacts on the game and how your players approach the game.
The Phillies need to start playing with a little more sense of urgency and mental sharpness. Brain farts this late in the season are uncacceptable, especially in a very competitive division. If you’re going to lose, then lose as a team that gets outplayed, not as airheads. At this point, they need to just shake it off and prepare for the next game.
As I said when I first suggested moving Moyer to the bullpen: make Madson the closer! Let Lidge work in the 6th or 7th innings until he can correct himself and get his command back. Lidge has virtually no command of his fastball right now. When you’re just a two-pitch pitcher (fastball and slider in Lidge’s case), you can’t afford to lose command of one of your pitches.
Kudos to Cole Hamels for a solid outing on the mound today. Hamels has had a rough month, but looked impressive at times today. He pitched a pretty solid game, although he ran into deep counts. I think he is beginning to head in the right direction.
To Mets fans: I saw Matt Cain’s fastball nail David Wright on the head. OUCH. Hopefully, he is ok. You guys have had enough injuries for one year.