Record: 66-63. Pace: 83-79. Change: +2.
After playing the equivalent of two games last night, we can only imagine what both teams were feeling this morning. If I didn’t want to get up and watch the game less than 9 hours later, I can only guess how the players felt about actually playing the game. The short turnaround certainly seemed to have an impact on the Arizona line-up, with Prado, Parra, Hill, and Nieves all sitting this one out. That the team managed to score five runs with Goldy being the only regular player with an average approaching .300 actually in the line-up is a moral victory. Too bad those don’t count in the standings.
On the Phillies’ side of the field, the marathon game last night had an impact on Roy Halladay’s rehab plans. After using Tyler Cloyd in that game, Philly was down a starter for today. Halladay got the call to make the start, and proved that he’s still Roy Halladay.
The top half of the first started out on a positive note, with Tony Campana leading it off with a triple to deep right field. Adam Eaton was able to do one of those "productive out" things, getting Campana in from third on a groundout to short. Unfortunately, Paul Goldschmidt would also ground out to short, and Matt Davidson would strike out. But, hey, we had Patrick Corbin on the mound today. He doesn’t need much run support, right?
Well, yeah, about that…
Today was the day that Corbin did need a whole load of run support, and even five runs wasn’t sufficient. The bottom half of the first let us know that we were in for a long day. Corbin started it off by hitting Roger Bernadina—he of the .178 average and .249 OBP. I don’t know why a guy with numbers like that is leading off for anyone, but it worked in this case. Jimmy Rollins followed by popping up to first, but Michael Young would move Bernadina into scoring position with a single to center. Corbin’s problems with control continued, as he walked Erik Kratz to load the bases. Darin Ruf got the RBI, hitting a single that brought Bernadina in to score. Bases still loaded, one run in, only one out. Cody Asche did Ruf one better, doubling to bring in both Young and Kratz. Three runs, two runners in scoring position, still only one out. Corbin was able to get Kevin Frandsen to ground out to short, but that brought yet another run in. When John Mayberry, Jr. grounded out to Corbin, the score was 4-1, Phillies.
The top of the second saw Arizona close the gap. AJ Pollock was able to leg one out to lead off. After Cliff Pennington lined out to center field, Pollock stole second, putting himself in scoring position. Didi Gregorius moved Pollock to third with his own single. Tuffy Gosewich was able to halve the lead with a sac fly. That would be the end of the scoring in the second inning, as Corbin struck out. But, hey, it was only the second inning, Patrick Corbin was on the mound, and it was just a two-run game.
Corbin seem to settle down in the bottom of the second, getting a 1-2-3 inning. Unfortunately, Roy Halladay is still something like Roy Halladay, and he didn’t allow any more scoring in the next half inning. In fact, both pitchers fulfilled their reputations for the next few innings, with no scoring to be found until the fourth inning. Too bad the fourth inning scoring was in the Phillies’ favor.
The inning Diamondbacks fans have come to dread also lived up to its reputation today. It started out innocuously, with Asche popping up to shortstop. Then, came Frandsen. His single to short turned into a runner in scoring position on an error from Gregorius. While the error may have been ugly, it really didn’t matter much in the big picture. After all, the ensuing home run by Mayberry, Jr. would have scored Frandsen whether he was standing on first or second. By the time Corbin struck out Halladay and Bernadina, the score was 6-2 in the favor of the Phillies.
It would be two more innings before any additional scoring took place. As was the way of today’s game, that scoring was done by the Phillies. After retiring Ruf, Corbin got in his own way. First, he gave up a single to Asche. Frandsen followed with a fielder’s choice that should have seen Asche out at second base. The error on Corbin meant that there were now two on with only one out. Corbin followed that up by walking Mayberry Jr. to load the bases. At this point, Halladay was lifted for a pinch hit by Chase Utley. Utley promptly spanked it into right, scoring Asche. And such would end the day of Corbin, leaving the bases loaded and one out for Heath Bell.
Why did that not make me feel confident? Well, because it shouldn’t have. On the first batter he faced, Bell allowed Bernadina (see the BA and OBP above) to double in Frandsen and Mayberry Jr. Still only one out and two on. Bell followed that up with striking out Rollins and getting Young to ground out, but the score sat at 9-2 in favor of the Phillies when the sixth inning came to a close. Oh, and two errors for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks tried to claw their way back into the game in the 8th inning. Campana showed off his speed on what the box scores amusingly like to call "an infield single to the catcher". Eaton had a more traditional single to center to move Campana into scoring position. It looked like it might be for naught, as both Paul Goldschmidt and Davidson followed that with strike-outs. Ah, but Pollock had other plans, knocking a homer over the left center wall to make the score 9-5 in favor of Philadelphia. A walk by Pennington and a single by Gregorius would put two more on the bases, but Gosewich would end the threat by flying out to right.
Chaz Roe was able to hold the score at 9-5 in the bottom of the 8th, but Arizona would make no further dents in that score. Jacob Diekman came in to get a ground out by pinch-hitter Wil Nieves, then strike out both Campana and Eaton.
In the end, though, this loss can’t be laid at the feet of the offense, even if it was the B-Team. Five runs should get a win for most pitchers, especially pitchers like Corbin. Unfortunately, Corbin had a rare bad showing and the defense wasn’t there. So, we’re looking at another series lost. I don’t see how even the most optimistic in our ranks can see this as anything but the book being closed on play-off contention. So, the rest of the season is for cheering on the guys, watching the young ones who’ll be up next week, and hoping the problems get fixed in the off season.
Bells and whistles, by Jim
Another first inning that clearly took the wind out of the Gameday Thread sails, and I suspect a lot of people were also still sleeping off the marathon yesterday, and woke up to find us already trailing badly. TolkienBard led the commenters, followed by cole8865, and preston.salisbury was tied with Xipooo for third at the time of counting. Also present: 4 Corners Fan, Circa4life, Clefo, Diamondhacks, FatBoysEatMeat, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Rockkstarr12, SongBird, Stumpy657, The so-called Beautiful, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, cheese1213, hotclaws, onedotfive, soco and txzona. Comment of the Day... Er, most rec'd would be me, for this flashback to the McGwire/Williams face-off in LA:
Actually, McGwire gripping him by the collar
Was the only thing stopping Williams from waving Mark home.
We'll see you tomorrow for the San Diego series.