A fitting end to an unsatisfactory season: Ryan Howard taking a third strike, turning in obvious and all-too familiar disgust as the SF Giants begin their celebration on the Phillies home turf.
The Inquirer's Matt Gelb had the audacity to invoke Joe Carter's stake-in-the-heart home run of 17 years ago to the date in describing Juan Uribe's game-winner off the Phils Ryan Madson. Well, Ryan, I forgive you. Indeed, you are not to blame. The Phillies lost for the same reason they stumbled all season: they did not hit in general and virtually never with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies received adequate starting pitching in this NLCS series but they never supported it with competent fielding or sufficient hitting. Indeed, Howard's punch out was typical of Phillies batters throughout the series. They never were aggressive at the plate, taking more hittable pitches than I've ever seen any team do.
The only area in which the Phillies exceeded expectations was in getting hit by pitches. That is why they are going home and San Francisco, hardly a great team by any measure, is going to the Series.
With this post I am taking a long hiatus. I'll require at least that much to get over the disappointment, not in the losing but in the how of losing.