-Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

-Pro Football Prospectus 2006

-Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

-Break Point!: An Insider's Look at the Pro Tennis Circuit

-Phil Gordon's Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold'em

-How I Play Golf (Tiger Woods)

-The Last Season


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September 9 2006

The Phillies offense, Charlie Manuel and Arthur Rhodes combined to be absolutely miserable tonight as the Phillies lost to the Florida Marlins 4-3 in ten innings.  Manuel and Rhodes were really bad, yes, but the Phillies hitters had chance after chance and couldn't get it done, leaving about a bazillion runners on base.  A bazillion proved to be too many in this case.

They didn't really eat Gradoville, by the way.  That was a joke.  I'm not even sure if he's real.  I'll keep an eye out for all of us.

The loss drops the Phillies to 72-70 on the year.  They can still take three out of four in the series with a win tomorrow.  A win tonight would have moved them within a half game of the Padres, who lost to the Giants today.  The Giants moved into a tie with the Phillies in the Wild Card hunt with the win.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run.  He struck out five. 

Hanley Ramirez led off the first with a single and Dan Uggla followed with a two-run homer that put the Fish up 2-1 before Myers had retired a batter.  Cabrera flew out to center for the first out, but Willingham singled and Jacobs walked to put men on first and second with nobody out.  Myers struck out Borchard and got Olivo to ground to third to end the inning.

Ramirez singled with two outs in the second, but Myers got Uggla to fly to center and end the inning with the Phils still trailing 2-1.

With one out in the third, Willingham reached on an error by Nunez.  Myers got Jacobs and Borchard to end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Jason Wood, batting for Marlins starter Brian Moehler, laced a two-single to left in the fourth.  The 36-year-old Wood stole second and the ball got passed Utley and went into center.  Utley seemed to use his shoulder on the play to try to keep Wood from getting up after his slide and heading for third.  Wood was awarded third on the obstruction.  Myers walked Ramirez, making it first and third with two down for Uggla.  Ramirez stole second and Uggla hit a ground ball in the hole between short and third.  Rollins fielded it but couldn't throw out Uggla -- Wood scored from third and Ramirez went to third as the Marlins took a 3-2 lead.  Cabrera flew to right to end the inning.

Borchard doubled with two out in the fifth, but Myers got Olivo to ground to short to end the inning.

Myers started the sixth with the Phils still trailing 3-2.  Amezaga led off with a single, but Myers struck out Helms for the first out of the inning.  Ramirez reached on a bunt single to third, but Uggla grounded into an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Madson started the bottom of the seventh.  He got the leadoff man before walking Josh Willingham.  With lefty Mike Jacobs at the plate, Manuel called on Savior-of-the-Universe-light, Matt Smith, who did it again, getting Jacobs to fly to left and striking out Borchard to end the inning. 

Geary threw a 1-2-3 eighth.  He returned for the ninth, giving up a two-out walk to Cabrera before striking out Willingham to end the inning.  Geary has been outstanding -- he lowered his ERA to 2.96 tonight and has been charged with one earned run in his last 20 1/3 innings.  He gave the Phillies chances to win tonight and their hitters didn't get it done.

Arthur Rhodes started the tenth in a 3-3 tie and struck out the leadoff man, lefty Mike Jacobs.  Pinch-hitter Chris Aguila walked and Eric Reed, who pinch-ran for Aguila, went to second on a wild pitch from Rhodes.  The Phillies then intentionally walked Olivo to set up the double-play, putting runners on first and second with one out.  Another wild-pitch from Rhodes moved the runners to second and third.  That was it for Rhodes, who looked hurt on the pitch and left with a strained elbow, and the Phillies called on Brian Sanches.  Really they did.  The Brian Sanches that came into the game with 18 1/3 career innings and a 6.38 ERA.  Sanches is notably not Tom Gordon, who had pitched in two straight games.  The Phillies intentionally walked Amezaga to load the bases, and Cody Ross singled to center to give the Fish a 4-3 win.

The Phillies lineup against righty Brian Moehler went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Dellucci (6) Burrell (7) Ruiz (8) Nunez.  Burrell hits sixth for the second straight day with Dellucci this time in the five-hole.  Manuel again goes with three lefties all in a row, but this time against a team that can bring a lefty in out of the pen.  One of the three, Dellucci, the guy hitting behind Howard, doesn't have much of a chance against a lefty.  In a big situation, with a lefty on the hill, two outs and nobody on, for example, the Fish could intentionally walk Howard, which would basically force Manuel to take Dellucci out of the game and hit Conine, who is his best right-handed bat on the bench.  That's not how it played out tonight, but it sure was ugly.

Chase Utley homered in the first with two outs and nobody on to put the Phils up 1-0.  Howard and Dellucci followed with singles, but Burrell struck out looking to end the inning.

Nunez singled with one out in the second and Myers bunted him to second.  Rollins walked, putting runners on first and second with two down.  Victorino grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

Down 2-1 in the third, Utley led off with his second solo home run of the game, which tied the score at 2-2.  Howard followed with a double and Dellucci walked, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.  Burrell was next and hit it hard to left, but Willingham retired him for the first out of the inning.  Ruiz was next and he smashed a ball to third, which Cabrera caught and threw to second to double-off Howard and end the inning.  Both Burrell and Ruiz hit the ball hard, but the Phillies got nothing out of first and second with nobody out.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the fourth. 

The Marlins tried to exploit the three straight lefties in the Phillies lineup in the fifth inning, bringing in lefty Renyel Pinto to start the frame.  Victorino led off with a beautiful drag bunt to the right of the pitcher for a single.  Pinto then walked Utley and Howard to load the bases with nobody out and Dellucci due to hit.  Manuel pinch-hit with Conine, meaning Dellucci was lost for the game.  The Fish predictably brought in a righty, Ricky Nolasco, to pitch to Conine.  Conine struck out.  Burrell popped out to Uggla.  Ruiz lined out to Uggla and the Phillies were done, getting nothing out of bases loaded with nobody out.  The Phillies lost Dellucci for the game in exchange for getting a Conine versus Nolasco matchup rather than a Dellucci versus Pinto.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the sixth.  The Marlins brought in another lefty, Taylor Tankersly, in the seventh to deal with the Phillies lefties again.  Victorino went down for the first out before Utley and Howard walked again, making it first and second with one down.  Conine popped to second and Burrell flew out to center.

Ruiz led off the eighth with a triple.  With the lefty Tankersley still on the mound, Manuel hit Hernandez for Nunez -- a nice move by Manuel against the lefty.  Hernandez struck out.  It would have been Conine instead of Hernandez if Manuel hadn't used him in the fifth.  Coste came up next, pinch-hitting for Matt Smith.  The Fish took out Tankersley, bringing in the righty Joe Borowski.  Manuel pinch-hit the lefty Simon for the pinch-hitter Coste, so Coste was out of the game without ever swinging the bat.  Simon struck out.  I actually don't mind that as much as the stuff in the fifth -- Simon against Borowski looked good to me and Simon doesn't strike out a lot.  It didn't work this time and it was unfortunate to lose Coste.  Borowski struck out Rollins to end the inning.  To recap -- in a one-run game the Phillies got a leadoff triple and their next three hitters struck out to leave him stranded.

The Phillies were still down 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth.  Victorino led off with a walk.  Utley flew out to shallow center on a 2-0 pitch and, amazingly, the Marlins walked Howard intentionally, moving Victorino to second with one out where he could score on a single by Conine.  He scored on a single by Conine.  Conine slapped it into center and Victorino did an amazing job to score.  Amazega's throw from center arrived to the plate about the same time that Victorino did and he crushed Olivo, who was unable to handle the throw.  Off the bat it looked like there was no way to score a runner from second on that play.  Said it before and I'll say it again:  Shane Victorino is a badass.  Not gritty or gutty or a gamer.  Badass.  With the game tied at 3-3 the Marlins intentionally walked Burrell to load the bases.  With one out and the bases loaded, Ruiz struck out and Hernandez flew to right to end the inning.

In the top of the tenth Victorino, a badass, singled with two outs.  Utley singled and the Fish intentionally walked Ryan Howard again to load the bases and pitch to Conine.  Conine lined out to left to end the inning.

Jimmy Rollins was 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Victorino, a badass, was 2-for-5 with a walk and created a run where there was none on the bases in the ninth.

Utley was 3-for-4 with two home runs, two walks and two RBI.  The long balls give him 28 for the year, which is what he hit last season. 

Howard was 2-for-2 with four walks, two of which were intentionally.

Dellucci was 1-for-1 with a walk as an accidental tourist in the five-hole.  Conine had a big RBI-single, but was 1-for-4 with a strikeout and left eight men on base.

Burrell was awful again.  0-for-4 with a walk and left nine men on bases.

Ruiz was 1-for-5 with a strikeout and left eight men on base.  The Marlins stole three bases with him behind the plate, including one by a 36-year-old.

Nunez was 1-for-3 and Hernandez 0-for-2.  Nice job by Manuel to pinch-hit for Nunez when he did.

A couple of things encouraging about this ugly loss.  Geary was awesome.  Myers was good.  Matt Smith again came up big.  Utley hit two out and had three hits.  Maybe the biggest is this though -- the way the Marlins beat the Phillies isn't sustainable.  The guys behind Howard were bad tonight, there was a big hit from Conine but he had a tough game.  So did Burrell and Ruiz.  Manuel had an awful game.  But the guys behind Howard are going to be better -- if other teams keep putting him on base against what's probably the best offense in the league they're going to pay for it most of the time. 

Cole Hamels faces Dontrelle Willis tomorrow afternoon.

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