Phillies fever turned into another tough pill to swallow. After sick slugger Ryan Howard gave his mates the go-ahead off the bench in the 7th, Ryan Madson gave it right back in the 9th in a 6-5 loss to the Orioles.
The Phillies continue to find ridiculous new ways to lose at home, this time erasing one of the single-best storylines of the season. Suffering flu-like symptoms and a 104-degree fever following last night's game, resulting in a hospital stay, Howard stepped off the bench and deposited a three-run, go-ahead home run into the seats in the 7th, capping a five-run rally. Howard's appearance preserved a personal streak of 343-straight games and should have snapped the Phillies' ugly losing streak. Instead, it sent fans home with the same symptoms that kept Howard out of the starting lineup.
Sleep will be hard to come by for a new Ryan tonight. We'll take Chris Wheeler's word that the 8th inning is a different animal, and the proof is in Madson's performance these last three games. But can anyone explain where Madson's off-speed pitch went? The one he should have thrown to Rod Barajas Thursday and should have been skinned tonight?
It all amounts to a fifth consecutive loss, and another home series loss, falling to a 13-21 record at home. The Orioles, who entered the series 8-20 on the road, have actually outplayed the Phillies significantly just as the Jays did, getting their six runs on 16 hits tonight.
The Phils try to salvage just their second win of this dizzying nine-game homestand tomorrow before reaching for the only medicine that seems to work: getting the bleep outta town.