Phillies-Blue Jays: It Sure Ain't the Luck of the Irish
There’s Murphy’s Law, and then there’s Murphy’s game.
Phillies ace Cole Hamels suffered another sub-par start, preempted by two changeups that kicked up dirt in front of the plate on the first batter of the game. The divots his pitches made were deeper than the ones I made during miniature golf—and that’s bad.
Although Cole would manage to hold the Jays to only three runs when he passed 100 pitches by the bottom of the sixth, it was another indication that foul balls eat up pitches, and pitch counts get high when balls are left hanging.
Then the Phillies bullpen fumbled through the game.
Disturbin’ Durbin surprisingly failed to live up to his name as he quickly retired four in the seventh, but then J.C. Romero had a problem getting in the zone.
Little did we know, he would walk half of the six batters he’d face and would be spared an earned run only because of a base running error by Alex Rios.
Rios failed to tag on a fly ball to left and was stranded on third like an ugly prom date when Romero finally ended the inning. He suffered an outing that jump-started a string of walks that wouldn’t end until the bullpen had served up eight and forced in two runs.
In the ninth, Ryan Madson took the mound with a one-run lead and fired a 97 mph fastball for a first-pitch strike.
But don’t let appearances fool you. Vernon Wells hit the second pitch for an infield single to break his 0-for-21 hitless streak.
And that was just the continuing of the end.
Then ex-Phillie, Scott Rolen, decided to start swinging. Until the ninth, he was 0-for-4, which included two walks and a strikeout looking. He was just "watching the world go by" until he took a liking to what Ryan was serving. Rolen fouled off three before connecting for a double, moving two runners into scoring position.
But when a pitcher intentionally walks a hitter to load the bases with no outs, it’s usually courteous for the other team to hit into a double play, right?
Well, those Canadians don’t know anything about etiquette. I thought Madson would be fine when he struck out his fourth batter, but then a misplaced changeup walked in a run.
Whoops, must have been Murphy’s pitch.
Although the interim closer managed to force ex-Philly, Rod Barajas, into an infield pop-up and then struck out the last batter by making that previously ailing changeup work, it was the end of his 15-inning scoreless streak, the end of the inning, and the end of the line for Madson.
I saw Ryan at the Winner’s Circle in Exton, Penn. on Monday and had him sign my backpack.
So when he ran into some really bad luck in this game my husband said, “You didn’t shake his hand did you?”
“No!” I said. “I swear!”
I don’t blame him for blaming me. I'm Irish.
Besides, passing the blame is what marriage is all about.
But this was the game where “anything that could go wrong, would go wrong.” And like the Energizer bunny, it kept going, and going, and going.
Mr. Usually Consistent, Clay Condrey, took the stage in the tenth. Our hopes were focused on maintaining the tie and going into the bottom of the inning with a respectable chance of winning.
Unfortunately, the Jays were focused on getting on base. And their focus was sharper. Like a housewife on a sixty-second shopping spree, they stuffed ample play in their bag.
Condrey was consistent with Phils' pitching in one area: he loaded the bases. That was the fifth time a pitcher with a “P” on his cap managed that. And sticking with further tradition, he walked one in.
Instantly rumors of his sore back started circulating. I even saw a doctor in the stands hold up a prescription for muscle relaxers. But it was too late. He chalked up two earned runs before brand spanking new reliever, Tyler Walker took the mound.
It was the third time Walker was told to warm up since he got here, so it was time to stop teasing him. But I’ll admit, it’s not nice to throw a guy in front of 44,958 irate Phils fans with the bases loaded and one out. It borders on cruel.
The poor guy was hit for a sacrifice fly and an off-the-wall double before begging someone to keep the ball on the ground so overworked shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, could finally stop a hit and get it to first in time.
Poor Jimmy. He ended the game looking like a he belonged in a Tide commercial. He made plays reminiscent of his Golden Glove status, and even ate dirt to try to spare Ryan Howard his third error of the week on a wild throw.
In the sixth, J-Ro’s dive after an elusive grounder left him empty-handed, but he managed to pounce on the next two only to be denied a play at first on both. He couldn’t have gotten the ball there faster if he’d sent it by Fios.
Then in the seventh he put down a perfectly executed covert bunt to get to first and then slid into second on an overthrow that tied the game in errors. But Jimmy was simply a statistic when the inning ended with a Chase Utley K.
Without J-Ro in position six, things could have been worse. But he couldn’t stop the bleeding. The Blue Jays pulled ahead by five in the tenth. When Toronto headed to the bottom of the inning with reliever, Jesse Carlson, a pitcher with a 5.22 ERA, one thing was certain—he was hittable.
I was a giddy as a goat in a junk yard.
It looked like everything that could go wrong had already gone wrong when Chase Utley started out with a single. But then Marco Scutero robbed Jayson Werth—the two-run home run hero of the sixth—of a line drive hit.
Even though Chase stole second in a gallant attempt to get into scoring position, Ryan Howard flied out to center, and Raul Ibanez popped out to give Scutero his second putout of the inning.
And I was told I could put-out.
The R’s in our lineup racked up some K’s. Ryan and Raul combined for six fans. It seemed like Chase was the only one seeing the breaking ball off the Jays “work in progress,” “effectively wild,” starter Ricky Romero.
Well, the wild youngster effectively progressed through the game against the Phillies allowing only three runs to score while striking out nine.
It was a strange game. It looked more like the Phillies needed a day off rather than just had one. The Jays stranded 15 runners and won, and the Phils only abandoned eight and lost. The infield fly rule was called three times on the same batter, a pitcher who made his first plate appearance in the majors was asked to attempt a squeeze bunt at home, and a great Jayson Werth throw to the plate was so late we thought the rabbit died.
The Blue Jays—a team that was 0-27 when trailing after eight—beat a team that had the best record in the MLB since mid-May.
If you go back five or six of my past lives, I have the best record too—in the Jurassic league.
Someone, somewhere, was screwing with fate.
Probably a leprechaun.
Like my husband said, the Irish were responsible somehow.
See you at the ballpark.
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