Sunday, October 24, 2010

Losing In Character

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.

1 comment:

Matty said...

Well said Tom. I could write a novel here about the what-ifs, but it isn't worth the effort.

The entire series was full of woulda-coulda-shoulda. Call me a psychic, but when their pitcher Sanchez got a hit in the 3rd inning (that Utley could have fielded) and eventually scored, I told my wife that's the ball game. They'll win by one run.

And we pay Howard 20M a year to look at a season ending strike three with two runners on.

I watched the post game interviews with Howard and Victorino. Their smug so-what banter was the perfect topping to their dismal performance. And a slap in the face to the fans who pay their salaries.

But fans have a short memory, and the streak of sold-out games will continue on the first home game of next season.

Tom....I've enjoyed reading your posts, and look forward to interacting with you next year.

Do you have an every day blog you write?