The call came in around 4:45 Friday afternoon. Beerleaguer was on the line. “I’d love to see Hamels pitch tonight. Do you want to go to the game?”
Sure, I replied. We arranged a convenient place to rendezvous from which I would drive the final leg to the game. Jason was caught in various beginning-of-the-weekend traffic jams and accidents along the way, but we finally linked up and departed for the Bank.
As we arrived at the parking lot we turned on the radio just in time to hear Hamels had yielded a home run to leadoff hitter Julio Lugo. We looked at each other in disgust. “Should we leave?” I half joked. If only I’d known. By the time the score was 7-0 we were looking for other forms of diversion.
“Tom Goyne (of Balls, Sticks & Stuff) is in the park tonight,” I said. “I’ll give him a call.” I reached Tom mobile-to-mobile and we decided to link up in Ashburn Alley, where we met him and his wife.
After our reunion Jason and I returned to our perch at one of the standup counters ringing the concourse where we commiserated with each other about the woeful state of the Phillies starting rotation.
Jason opined that the offense simply could not start every game behind the eight ball and be expected to bail the team out. We wondered how many more starts Hamels would be given before he was sent down for the seasoning he’d really never had. “Who would replace him,” I asked?
I wondered whether this latest loss, their fifth in a row and to a team with a substantial losing record, would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. “Maybe someone is going to turn over the buffet table in the clubhouse,” I mused. “Or get into someone’s face.”
“This may be the moment when Gillick decides he’s seen enough of Charlie, though the lousy pitching isn’t his fault.” I mentioned hearing an interview with Corey Lidle, the losing pitcher the day before, in which he lamented the one bad pitch, to David Wright, that ended up in the left field seats for a three-run homer. One mistake, Lidle, repeated. “Yeah,” I said to Jason. “Lots of ballgames are decided by one pitch. What’s new about that?”