|Carlos Ruiz did all he could to put the Phillies on his back Wednesday night in Atlanta, but it was not enough.
Well, last night was certainly not without plenty of entertainment, right?
The Phillies had an ugly meltdown in Atlanta, with Roy Halladay showing a rare glimpse of ugliness, Jimmy Rollins botching a potential double play ball in the field, and Charlie Manuel willingly bat a relief pitcher in the 11th inning despite having two bench players and Johnathan Papelbon available in the bullpen.
Things started off well for the Phillies, who chased Braves starter Tommy Hanson early on and saw Carlos Ruiz record seven runs batted in in the clutch. Ruiz smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Phillies the lead back after the Braves chased Halladay and took an 8-6 lead in the sixth. The Phillies tacked three more runs on the board in the eighth inning before the bullpen had their own meltdown in the bottom of the inning.
Joe Savery and Antonio Bastardo did their job well in relief of Halladay, but Jose Contreras was tagged for four runs in just one-third of an inning, allowing two hits and walking one in the eighth inning. Michael Schwimer could not stop the bleeding, allowing one run to score and taking the blown save in the same inning, as the Braves took a 13-12 lead in to the ninth inning. Jimmy Rollins misplayed a grounder up the middle that normally would have resulted in at least one out, if not two before the Braves rally got started. He was not happy about it...
Juan Pierre, used as a pinch hitter, drew a walk to lead off the ninth inning and he would come around to score with two outs on a Shane Victorino single. With the game sent to extra innings, Charlie Manuel was running low on bullpen relief but he was able to get a couple innings out of Brian Sanches, recently called up to fill a roster spot. Chipper Jones ended the wild night of baseball with a two-run home run to right center field, just pitches after sending one deep down the right field line, but foul.
In the end, the Phillies once again failed to get over .500 this season and will have to turn things around quickly with the series finale scheduled for this afternoon at noon.
After the game, perhaps in a symbolic gesture (or jester I suppose) of sorts, Phillies.com went down.
Jim Salisbury says questions are being raised about Halladay. As well they should. This is three straight games in which Halladay started that the Phillies did not celebrate a victory. Velocity issues? A diminishing strikeout ratio? Yes, he was due for an outing like this.
One can only imagine how much Matt Swartz would embarrass the WIP afternoon show with the logic behind this. If you weren't following the back-and-forth on Twitter last night, eventually WIP challenged Swartz from FanGraphs.com to come on air and continue their Halladay discussion. Basically WIP is stepping in to a gun fight with a pocket knife when it comes to this level of baseball discussion. Swartz agreed to come on, but I'll wager WIP will back down on the invite.
While the Phillies and Braves went in to extra innings that seemed more appropriate for a game in Wrigley Field in it's heyday, there was plenty of other stuff going on around the league.
Jered Weaver tossed a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins last night while most of us were sleeping, causing just about everybody to use the headline Dream Weaver. The folks at Monkey With a Halo were sure watching though.
This blown call by Tim Welke in yesterday's Dodgers-Rockies game sure strengthens the argument for expanded instant replay in baseball.
Speaking of the Dodgers, they are in the process of possibly adding a Gold Glove outfielder.
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