|Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies|
|June 4, 2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Los Angeles (34-21)||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||9||1|
|W: Belisario (1-0) L: Papelbon (0-2) S: Jansen (7)|
Quick Hit: An early hole, a comeback, and
tense action poor umpiring through most of the game could have gone the Phillies’ way, but a closer in a non-save situation the offense just couldn’t get the job done in a hugely disappointing loss.
Here’s a word picture for you. There’s a horse, and it’s been dead for a few years. Yet MLB likes to make sure someone keeps kicking it every now and then by using these unqualified umpires over and over.
Second base ump Derryl Cousins blew not one but two calls on pickoff plays in the first inning. The Dodgers had both their manager and bench coach tossed for arguing about balls and strikes. (They were correct in that the calls were total crap.)
I’m not going to mince words: D.J. Reyburn flat-out sucked behind the plate when it came to calling strikes. For both teams. Vance Worley and Clayton Kershaw were repeatedly getting screwed out of close calls, but every once in a while, a pitch on the corner would magically become a strike. Players on either side were confused all night long, and — wouldn’t you know? — things came to a head in the ninth inning.
Here’s a 1-2 pitch from closer Jonathan Papelbon to Dee Gordon that was called a ball:
Close pitch? Oh, you betcha! Normally, Papelbon gets that call because, well, the umpires are consistent despite being terrible at their jobs. Reyburn gave no [expletive] about that. He probably can’t even spell “consistency.”
OK, maybe that was a tad harsh.
Sure enough, Gordon would tag Papelbon with a triple on the very next pitch and score on an Elian Herrera single the pitch after that. Once the third out was recorded, the Phillies closer approached Rayburn to tell him he missed that call. They got into a rather heated discussion, yet there were no ejections. Strange. Maybe a certain someone knew he had [expletive] up so many calls on the night.
And, you know, what transpired in the top of the ninth is not the reason the Phillies lost this game. Not even close.
They squandered chances to take the lead. Jimmy Rollins, booed mercilessly earlier in the game for yet another infield pop-up, smashed a one-out triple to left center in the fifth. Placido Polanco, who homered in his previous AB, followed with a grounder to a drawn-in infield, leading to Rollins being out at home by about 20 feet. Bases loaded, two out in the seventh? Hunter Pence grounds out, dropping his average with RISP down to .203. With two outs and RISP, his average is slightly better at .212.
Still disappointing overall.
The bums are back to .500 once again and six games back in the loss column to Washington, who currently have two games in hand. If things are going to change, now is the time to make that happen. Without a good month of June to remain competitive in the division, this team might as well be done.