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Twelve Reasons Why the Phillies Lost Game Four

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What happened that caused the Phillies to lose again in game four? Twelve things, among many others.

This game was brutal. Even when they took the lead, you had a feeling bad things were just a leadoff walk away. But it wasn't just one play that put us in a 3-1 hole instead of the more favorable 2-2. Here are twelve reasons (in chronological order) I can think of while I'm trying not to imagine five months without baseball.

1. Carlos Ruiz failing to block Joe Blanton's first inning wild pitches

Freddy Sanchez advanced from first to third on two balls in the dirt from Blanton. As one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, Carlos blocks both of those balls nine times out of ten. This time, he let them get away, and a Buster Posey single gave the Giants an early lead.

2. Jayson Werth's 4th Inning line out with two men on and one out

That thing falls and we got guys running for a while.

3. Buster Posey laying down a ridiculous tag on Carlos Ruiz at the plate

I don't know how he corralled it and nabbed Chooch before he slid in, but that was a hell of a play by Posey on Aaron Rowand's throw. There was only one out prior to that, a Joe Blanton sacrifice.

4. Jimmy Rollins striking out with the bases loaded

The bases were full when he stepped in the box, but a wild pitch moved everybody up a bag. Continuing the rally off a rattled Santiago Casilla could have put more than four on the board in the inning.

5. Failing to turn the double play in the fifth

We were up 4-2 at the time, coming off getting our first runs since the turn of the century and a shutdown inning would have been huge. In keeping with the Phillies' inconsistencies this year, that was not accomplished, and only getting one on a ground out let Aubrey Huff knock in a run and booted Fat Joe from the game.

6. Using Jose Contreras for one batter

He pitched two innings the night before, and while he said he was ready, he should have been saved for the later innings if he was really needed. Coming in for one batter lost us a good reliever for the rest of the game just so Domonic Brown (who, if we had a better bench, wouldn't be on this roster) could ground out on one pitch.

7. Chad Durbin

...was awful. He couldn't find the plate, and when he did, it was a straight fastball that caught way too much of it that Pablo Sandoval crushed into the gap. The hitter before him was Cody Ross, who continued to add to my future hospital bill by blooping a double into left. Had Ben Francisco not hesitated, he could have been gunned down at second. Pat wasn't going anywhere from third.

8. Walking the leadoff man

In the fifth and sixth innings, nothing hurts more than surrendering the momentum to the home team by walking the leadoff guy. Andres Torres was a mannequin up there. He would've taken three underhand pitches. And if you don't know to throw strikes to Pat Burrell early in the count, then you don't know much about pitching. 

9. Leaving Antonio Bastardo in to face Buster Posey

Posey's slap double ended up not hurting us because Ryan Madson got out of the inning, but had Charlie gone to somebody like Kyle Kendrick to record the final two outs of the inning, Madson could have pitched the eighth and ninth. One decision affects everything else in a baseball game.

10. Jimmy Rollins popping up to third base with a runner on second and no one out

It's been a while since I sipped on that rage-a-hol as much as I did after this terrible display of hitting. It was a 1-0 count off Sergio Romo, who had just given up back-to-back doubles that tied the game. Everybody and their mother has been pitching Jimmy away away away all series, yet Rollins sees a fastball low and away that he really likes, and skies it just past the bag at third. Not only was it not a ball on the ground, but it was on the wrong side of the field. Getting Jayson Werth to third with one out would have been the leading run. I don't like to judge a player based on one at-bat, but I will be shocked if Jimmy gets a contract here again. He's been atrocious in every way this season. 

11. Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz striking out on six straight "sliders"

Sergio Romo is a good pitcher who put up good numbers this season for San Fran. But he had just given up the lead on a scorched double from Werth and he and Posey decided to throw the same pitch over and over. It was a spinning slider that barely moved. Both Francisco and Ruiz let the meatballs right over the middle of the plate go, and swung at pitches way outside that never started as strikes. Presumably, they thought Romo had a screwball in his arsenal because that's how they kept swinging. Early on everything, leaving Werth stranded as the winning run and shoving the momentum into the Giants corner.

12. Roy Oswalt throwing fastball after fastball

In 18 ninth-inning pitches, Oswalt threw 16 fastballs and 2 changeups. He's the owner of one of the best curveballs in the game. Chooch loves calling (and blocking) curveballs. I see a disconnect between things. Maybe he was afraid of a pitch getting away, but throwing straight(ish) fastballs that catch a lot of the plate when you're up in the count seems to be a bad idea. Both change-ups he threw didn't work out so well -- Aubrey Huff's first-pitch single and Juan Uribe's game-winning sac fly. I haven't read anything about why he didn't use the curve there.  After all that transpired, I didn't have a problem with going to Oswalt in the ninth, but a better in-game manager wouldn't have let it get to that point where we had to use him.

Of course I'm leaving out simple things like "they're not hitting" and "don't swing at balls you worthless piles of crap". While there's still a chance these Phillies can come back behind their three stud pitchers, it won't matter unless the hitters start hitting. Baseball is a weird sport.

The comeback starts today. I want Tim Lincecum out by the third inning. Make me proud, boys.