NLCS Game 2: 3 Good, 3 Bad, 3 Else

Today’s observations from a largely disappointing game.

Three Good

  1. Pedro Martinez: Clearly the story, next to Padilla and the 8th inning. Pedro pitched very well, and barely looked a day over 30. A shame his outing was wasted.
  2. Ryan Howard: He’s obviously keyed in. Big time. A shame he didn’t get to bat in the 9th, but it never should have come to that, anyway.
  3. Carlos Ruiz: Still looks good at the plate and had a great throw to nail Matt Kemp stealing second. With Feliz cold, Ruiz should get consideration for a bump in the order.

Three Bad

  1. Chase Utley: Created the majority of the 8th-inning mess with his throwing error to botch a double play that would have left the Phils still in the lead with a man on third and two out. Instead, Pierre scores to tie the game and Martin stays on first with just one out.
  2. Most of the offense: Yo guys, it’s Vicente Padilla. Pick up your pitcher when he’s having a good outing. This was criminally evident in 2007 and 2008 when Cole Hamels had a good outing, but the bats really came up short here. The only walk was to Ruiz, and Howard was the only player to touch second base. That’s awful.
  3. Overmanaging: Using five pitchers in one inning is a gross mismanagement of the situation. Using Park, Eyre, Madson, Happ and Durbin in one inning is unnecessary. It certainly wasn’t Park’s fault that a ball glanced off Feliz’s glove or that a bunt found a hole. Leave him in!

Three Else

  1. Homefield Advantage: Sure, it’s nice to have, having stolen one game in L.A. But when you have the chance to put the other boot down – just as the Phillies did last year – you have to take it. Throwing away the game, literally, is a stinger.
  2. Bullpen: Yes, technically Park gets the loss and the bullpen is on the hook for this game. But the way it started, and the way Utley’s botch let it evolve, it’s certainly not their fault. Happ did not pitch well at all to Ethier, and Thome’s single off Eyre was well-hit. But that’s all.
  3. Letting it settle: You have a day off. Either let the sting stew in your chest, and look forward to Cliff Lee on the mound for your team at home in a swing game of the NLCS. I feel confident, but this loss sure won’t rest easy within me for some time.
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