Tonight had all the markings of a great Phillies game from the beginning. Making gutsy plays to squeeze out a run in the first, Cliff Lee dodging a few jams in the early innings, then locking down for the next three. It all seemed to go according to plan.
Then, in typical 2012 Phillies fashion, it all fell apart. As if to echo the awful loss he suffered to the Cards in Game 2 of the 2011 NLDS, Cliff Lee imploded in sadly routine fashion in the top of the sixth inning. One bad play from Lee, and then an impossible attempt from Brown, and then, blink and you’ll miss it, the score is 3-1 Cardinals, courtesy of a Matt Holliday home run. Combine that with the Phillies’ offensive ineptitude against groundball pitchers, and the game was more or less over very quickly. Another run scored on a bunch of bloop hits in the eighth inning, and Lee’s night ended in frustration. B.J. Rosenberg came in for relief and induced a double play on the first pitch, prompting cries of “WHY COULDN’T LEE DO THAT?” across the Philadelphia area. Rosenberg would later end up loading the bases on a hit batter and a walk, prompting Raul Valdes to come in and…get Daniel Descalso out on the first pitch. Yeah, it was one of those innings, and the bottom of the eighth and ninth would prove uneventful, with the Phillies losing the game 4-1.
Cliff Lee’s record dropped to 2-7 on the year in a game that embodies his entire 2012 season: Six or seven strong innings punctuated by one awful one, characterized by shitty defense, bad pitches, or just straight-up terrible luck in general. Lee has been the victim of ten games this season where the Phillies failed to score more than three runs. On the upside though, Domonic Brown continued to prove himself by racking up another hit and a walk. Yay? Yay. He’s exciting to watch, and the future looks bright for him.
Vance Worley goes tomorrow in an attempt to salvage a series win.