Someone call John Vuckovich. Ask him if he’s still got that nice polyester getup hanging in his closet.
It’s been a major issue all season, but yesterday the Phillies' incompetence on the bases came to a head, losing to the A’s 2-1 in a torturous, rip-your-hair-out affair. This was the toughest loss in months.
The big blunder happened in the fourth inning when Bobby Abreu was given the green light from third base coach Bill Dancy to score on a one-out double by Jim Thome. Mark Kotsay’s throw from center field arrived well before Abreu reached home and was tagged out easily by catcher Jason Kendall. Had he been given the stop sign, both Chase Utley and Jason Michaels would have had opportunities to score him.
Instead, the inning resulted in no runs, one of many in which they had plenty of base runners but couldn’t drive them home. They stranded seven on the day, including five leadoff hitters that reached.
Their foolishness cost them earlier in the game when Mike Lieberthal was caught off second on Ramon Martinez's grounder back to the pitcher Kirk Saarloos. Chase Utley also got doubled off first later in the sixth when Kotsay chased down a fly to deep center, throwing him out by a good ten feet.
Jimmy Rollins accounted for the only run, leading off the game with a home run. He went 3-4 on the day with two steals.
The game was basically theirs for the taking all afternoon. Oakland starter Kirk Saarloos gave up nine hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings. The Phils spoiled a solid outing from Cory Lidle, who allowed two runs on five hits in 7 2-3 innings.
After the game, manager Charlie Manuel called this one of the toughest losses of the season, and it’s hard to argue that. With a win, they could have guaranteed themselves at least a 3-3 road trip.
The good news is the Nationals also lost, so the Phils remain 1.5 games out of first and still have a chance to salvage a .500 road trip this afternoon.