Another close game in the late innings went the wrong way for the Phillies. It isn’t even a surprise anymore.
The team that can’t seem to come from behind nearly pulled off the comeback against one of baseball’s best pitchers. In the end, it would fall just short.
Still, this is an act far too old for the Phillies. They are just plain terrible and there’s nothing that will change that any time soon.
The Dodgers had all the momentum early, working two walks off Vance Worley before getting back-to-back RBI singles by Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu.
A second-inning RBI single by Dee Gordon added to the lead.
The Phillies would come back in the third, getting back-to-back hits from John Mayberry Jr. and Freddy Galvis to get on the board. Placido Polanco capped the comeback with a two-run shot to tie the game.
Worley, in his first start since May 11 and coming off the DL, worked four innings on a set pitch count of 75-80 pitches. He threw 80 in allowing three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out four.
Joe Savery and Antonio Bastardo then combined for four scoreless innings of work. The Phillies worked a couple of scoring chances as well, getting Jimmy Rollins to third with one out in the fifth and loading the bases in the seventh with two outs. Rollins was thrown out at home gambling on contact and Hunter Pence grounded out to second to end the seventh. Pence is in a 2-for-33 slump at the plate with runners in scoring position.
In the ninth, the Phillies turned to Jonathan Papelbon, who allowed a lead-off triple to Dee Gordon. Gordon scored on an RBI single by Elian Herrera.
The Phillies never mounted a rally in the ninth, going down in order and losing their third straight game and the opener of their four-game series with the Dodgers, 4-3.
It is a tired act, but the Phillies just keep finding ways to lose games. If this team ever makes it back into a playoff position again this season, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
They are a team with no power, but they think they have it anyway. They are a team capable of hitting, but they try too hard for the big things. And ultimately, they are a team that on the right night get two of three things to work and the one that doesn’t costs them.
That is the story of a last-place team that can’t buy a win. At this point, someone in the organization should have learned that you can’t buy a win. You have to earn them. This team has not earned many wins this season.
I’d really like to encourage Phillies fans, people who really have been there since the beginning of this run to take a good look in the mirror, much like this team needs to do. Stop blaming the x-factors of a ballgame. Blame the opponents for outplaying us and playing baseball the right way. Blame the parts of this team that are clearly flawed and exposed. Hell, you can even blame the injuries.
Tonight, all the fans could seem to talk about was the umpires. I agree they missed their fair share of calls tonight, but they are not the reason the Phillies lost. They have never been the reason the Phillies lost.
If anything, you’re letting your true fandom show. What do I mean? If you jumped on the bandwagon last season, it took the Phillies until June 19 to lose their 28th game of the season. And they were 45-28. In 2010, it was June 11 and the Phillies were 31-28. In 2009, June 18 and a 36-28 record. In 2008, June 11 and 39-28.
If there’s is any year that compares to this one, it’s 2007. The Phillies lost their 28th games of the season that year on June 2. They were 27-28. Today is June 4 and the Phillies are 28-28. Not too far off at all.
The Phillies did get better that season, but the problem is that they are really exposed. Their rotation is not what it used to be, and now missing one of its best members. The bullpen, aside from the closer, is weak. The offense, even worse, especially missing their two biggest run producers during this five-year reign.
The reign is just about up. Time has caught up to the Phillies and the window has closed. This team is older and mediocre. They are not a winner.
That doesn’t mean they won’t win later in the season, but after two months and counting of on-again-off-again play, they are no longer the spotlight team. Unfortunately, for Phillies fans, it took this long to realize it.
The Phillies are back in action tomorrow night against the Dodgers. Cliff Lee gets the start against Chad Billingsley.
L: Jonathan Papelbon (0-2)
S: Kenley Jansen (7)