Another sloppy loss leaves Manuel fuming
TORONTO – If Hunter Pence’s "Good game, let’s go eat
" was the motto of the Phillies’ 102-win season in 2011 then maybe it’s time for a little variation for the dreary 2012 season."Bad game, let’s go vomit
" has a chance of catching on, especially as the Phillies continue to stumble and bumble through this troubling season.
The Phils turned in another stomach-turning effort on Saturday afternoon as they blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning and came away with a 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays (see Instant Replay)
Winless Cliff Lee squandered a three-run lead for the second straight game. This time he let the lead go in the eighth as the Jays rallied for three runs in a game that a pitcher of Lee’s stature should put away. It didn’t help that Jimmy Rollins made a costly error behind Lee that led to a pair of runs. It was the Phils’ 14th error in the last 10 games.
The Phillies ended up losing it when rookie reliever Joe Savery allowed a booming two-out single in the bottom of the 10th on a hanging 0-2 breaking ball to Rajai Davis. The single scored Yunel Escobar, who had walked to open the frame and moved to second on a balk by Savery.
Manager Charlie Manuel was furious after the Phils’ 11th loss in the last 14 games and blasted his team in the clubhouse after the game.
When the doors opened to reporters, Manuel hadn’t cooled off much.
“I’ve seen that quite a bit,” he said of the sloppy loss. “We don’t get it done. We can’t play in the moment. We make mistakes. In about every phase of the game we make mistakes. We could have more wins. We don’t have them because we don’t play good baseball. Solid, all-around, we don’t play good baseball.
“We keep making the same mistakes over and over and it goes right from our defense into our offense and also to our pitching. That’s kind of how we play. We find a way to lose the game.”
The Phillies are 31-36 and nine games back in the NL East.
They have been a strong second-half team in winning five straight NL East titles, but it might take a miracle – as well as healthy and productive returns from Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard – for the Phils see October this year.
“Somewhere along the line we’ve got to win some games,” Manuel said. “You can say ‘second-half team,’ but if we keep losing and we win something we’ll set a record in the second half. I guess. If you follow what I said."
A member of the team’s media relations department called an end to Manuel’s postgame news conference/rant after about five minutes, but the manager had more to say.
“Unreal,” he said.
Actually, it’s real. The Phillies are bad.
“No one is going to win or be a contender playing like this,” Rollins said. “We definitely take a lot of pride around here in playing defense. We’ve done it for years. But this year, I don’t know. It’s been crazy. The routine plays.”
Rollins didn’t hide from his role in the loss. He threw a ball away in the eighth as he tried to relay left fielder John Mayberry Jr.’s throw to second and nail Edwin Encarnacion after he had singled to left and moved Jose Bautista to third. Rollins had Encarnacion dead, but “I just threw it away,” he said, and two runs scored. Lee stayed for one more batter, allowed a single and was gone. Chad Qualls, who has allowed nine of 15 inherited runners to score this season, allowed a game-tying double with one-out in the ninth. Manuel said he would have gone to closer Jonathan Papelbon for the final four outs if Qualls had protected the lead.
Qualls probably would not have been in the game if Antonio Bastardo hadn’t been unavailable because of a self-inflicted frustration wound above his left eye, yet another mistake that haunted the Phillies.
Lee is winless since Sept. 26. He gave up 12 hits, but, still, this was a game he should have won. In the end, he made mistakes, too, such as a leadoff walk to Bautista that began the Jays’ rally in the eighth.
“I'm disappointed I walked Bautista leading off that inning,” Lee said. “I basically kind of let them back in it there. Looking back, I wish I could have that at-bat back. I'd really almost rather give up a home run right there than walk him. But it is what it is. They got a lot of hits. They're a good offense.”
Lee also blew a lead in the eighth inning last July in Toronto. The Jays hit three home runs against him in that inning.
This time it was more nickel-and-dime stuff, with Davis ending it with a 10th inning single on a hanging 0-2 breaking ball by Savery.
“When you make mistakes at this level, you get burned,” Manuel said.E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com