Image via Ben Revere on Twitter.
There are some days when it just seems as though baseball does not matter much. Yesterday was one of those days. Hours after multiple explosions went off near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, killing three (and rising in all likelihood) and inuring many more, the Phillies opened a three-game road series in Cincinnati, hoping to build off of a winning series in Miami over the weekend.
Baseball has served this country as a release, an escape from the tortures of real life and the sadness that can come with it. Baseball generally is there for us in troubled times. That was the case yesterday as the Phillies and Reds went on with a sense of normalcy.
Cliff Lee was once again in command throughout most of the night. Ben Revere made a catch worthy of play of the year consideration. Chase Utley hit a two-run home run off the bench to tie the game up before the bullpen struggled to keep the game within reach before the bats had to face Aroldis Chapman. When all was said and done, the Phillies went down to the score of 4-2, a somewhat ironic score on the day the baseball world was set to celebrate Jackie Robinson.
Cliff Lee gave the Phillies seven strong innings but ended his night by being charged with a pair of runs on five hits and striking out four batters with just one walk. As was the case much of last season, Lee pitched well enough for a shot at a win, but did not receive any run support behind him. Lee was not pegged with the loss though as the Phillies tied the game after he left.
Ben Revere brought his defense. His diving catch in center field will be a highlight shown all season long and is legitimately a top play of the year candidate already. As if the catch were not enough to be amazed by, he doubled up Jay Bruce at first base, with Bruce running the bases and not having any thought of the ball being caught. Revere made another fine catch the next inning against the outfield wall, which by comparison looked rather tame but it was still a very nice catch.
Revere made sure to pay tribute to the victims up in Boston with a taped message on his glove last night (above). And if you missed the catch, watch the replay here.
Chase Utley came off the bench on a night off and popped a two-run pinch-hit home run to tie the game at 2-2 with two outs in the eighth inning. The Utley home run accounted for all of the scoring by the Phillies.
Jeremy Horst's line will look poor, going just a third of an inning and being charged with two runs and walking one. The balls that were hit off of his pitches though may have been fielded if the defense was set differently. Ultimately he was the victim of some bad luck, but when a reliever comes in to a game in that situation he has to get some outs. Mike Adams didn't stop the bleeding either, but he has been pretty solid thus far. As for Horst, be sure to read Crashburn Alley's explanation on why you should not be giving up on Horst just yet.
Ben Revere was 0-for-4 at the plate, dropping his season batting average to .222. It may not be too long until Charlie Manuel reverts to his old ways by having Jimmy Rollins leading off. But Rollins was also 0-for-4 on the night. So was Ryan Howard, who struck out to end the ballgame on three pitches.
At times the defense, Ben Revere aside. Erik Kratz let a wild pitch get between his legs, to allow the Reds to score their first run of the night. Laynce Nix had a poor throw from shallow left field that bounced well before getting to home plate on a throw home. A throw from Lee to second skipped in the dirt past the glove of Freddy Galvis.
The Phillies are now already 5.5 games out of first place. It is certainly not time to panic about the standings, but the problem with the team last season was digging too big of a hole early on to be able to get out of. With the Braves streaking the way they have been and the Phillies offense and pitching largely sputtering, April is certainly not going the way of the Phillies.
NL East Update
The Washington Nationals pounded the Miami Marlins Monday night in a 10-3 victory. It took the visiting Nationals just three innings to equal the total number of runs scored by the Phillies in 28 innings over the weekend in Miami, and then they tacked on a few more.
The New York Mets and Colorado Rockies were snowed out in Denver. The Atlanta Braves had the day off.
|2||New York Mets||7||4||3.5|
The Phillies and Reds are back at it again tonight. Kyle Kendrick will take the mound for the Phillies in hopes of having a better outing than he has had before in Cincinnati. Kendrick carries a 5.71 ERA in three starts in Great American Ballpark. The Reds counter with Homer Bailey, coming off a rough outing against St. Louis. Utley should be back in the line-up tonight after getting a day off yesterday, pinch hitting aside.