The Phillies have been out-pitched, out-hit and are now one loss from being out for good.
All of the fears about this series were realized today. The red-hot Rockies offense exploded for 10 runs on 12 hits, the main damage coming at the hands of an unusual source. Four runs plated on one wicked Kaz Matsui swing, sending Kyle Lohse’s hard inside fastball into the seats for a grand slam. It takes a special kind of pitch for Matsui to tag one like that. It's no easy feat, and I can't stress that enough. The pitch needs to be hard, down and in for Matsui, owner of 17 career homers. Lohse replaced Kyle Kendrick with the bases loaded and he and catcher Carlos Ruiz got together on an inside pitch that arrived right where Matsui wanted it; all he had to do was drop the bat head on it. 6-3 Rockies, all the runs they needed in a 10-5 rout.
The heart of the Rockies lineup trumped the Phillies once again. Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday went back-to-back off Kendrick in the first inning. For Holliday, it was his second home run of the series.
Four of the five Phillies runs came off the bat of Holliday's rival Jimmy Rollins. Ryan Howard contributed a solo shot in the 6th. Overall, the Phillies hit better as a team than yesterday, but it wasn't enough, nor was it good enough. We expect more, and the opportunities were there today.
Besides the Rockies offense, the other fear that manifested itself was middle relief, as Lohse, Jose Mesa and Clay Condrey spewed a mess all over the field. Mesa issued back-to-back walks, gave up a two-run double to Yorvit Torrealba and left to a chorus of boos. Meanwhile, Colorado’s bullpen pitched the best ball of the afternoon, which really wasn't all that great, but compared to the Phillies, spectacular.
Key moment: Kendrick fails to retire Yorvit Torrealba with two outs in the fourth. He fell behind then pitched around him with the base open. Kendrick gives up the squib to Seth Smith to load 'em up, Charlie Manuel makes the switch to Lohse. Ballgame. Loshe blew it, but the three runs charged to Kendrick were certainly earned for the critical Torrealba mistake. He didn’t make pitches to a batter he needed to challenge, but it may have also been poor strategy on the part of the coaching staff not to make Torrealba, the 8-hitter, beat them. Overall, Kendrick was only a click better than Rockies starter Franklin Morales, who was unimpressive at best.
Final thought: Readers are quick to jump on Manuel for the loss for removing Kendrick and using Mesa, but right now it's pretty clear the Phillies have been outmatched in every facet of the game. Down 0-2 in the series, they face an early exit, which also threatens to tarnish the reputation for resilient, clutch play they built over the 162-game season. This wasn't how the first playoff series in 14 years was supposed to go.