Jamie Moyer allowed six runs, and the bullpen was shaky, as the Braves upended the Phillies 10-6. Meanwhile, San Diego and Colorado won. The only consolation is the Mets lost, but time is running out for that to matter.
Thirty minutes to game time, while preparing the game preview, I glanced at the scheduled lineups and knew they were in trouble. The Braves had already been underestimated heading into this series, and there was too much chest-pumping on our sidelines after a 8-2 road trip that included six games against inferior clubs. Seeing the live lineups made my trepidation verifiable.
There's a night-and-day difference between the Cards and Nats compared to the lineup the Phillies saw last night. Asking the pitching staff to get through Ankiel, Taguchi, Miles, Batista, Kearns, Lopez, Logan, etc. is one thing. Renteria, Chipper, Tex, Francouer, Andruw, McCann, etc. is another.
The Braves exploded precisely as feared, and the Wild Card threats took care of business later on. It’s not necessarily the frustration of losing 10-6 to the Atlanta Braves, who could easily represent the National League in the World Series if they only had the wins to get to October. It’s that we're still bummed about the missed opportunities in the previous 157, down to the very first game against the Braves in the season opener.
Maybe this rationale works hand-in-hand with the bleak attitude of Phillies fans, why every game, even the early ones, are treated like the post-season, and why there’s such a harsh feeling of betrayal that not everything was done, personnel-wise, to succeed. Because we’re never given the real one, the real October.
Maybe that's why our second or third reaction is to reason that Jamie Moyer will simply have this sort of game against the Braves because he is who he is, and Geary won’t be able to retire all the inherited runners because he doesn’t have the talent, while the first reaction is typically "Same old Phillies."
I blame the “concept” of Moyer more than Moyer himself, frankly, and that makes him immune to criticism in many ways. He's the same pitcher every start, except he's naturally worn down to the point of being only a four or five-inning pitcher. Moyer can last once, maybe twice through a lineup and needs the outside corners from the umpire, which he wasn’t getting from C.B. Bucknor. Mark Teixeira’s three-run homer in the first represents a text-book example of what happens to Moyer when he falls behind and is forced to come over the plate.
For the Phillies, who’re operating on borrowed time as some have already resolved, their version of October started yesterday, and they’re down 0-1 in the best of six.