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October 1 2006

Read the back of your ticket sometime.  It has a lot to say about what happens if it rains.  If the ball leaves the field, you're on your own.  It's what it doesn't say that's most important, though:  you're not guaranteed an outcome that appeals to you.  Sorry.  For all you've invested this season, your time, your money, the Phillies are done. 

The question is what your investment got you, if anything.  And the answer is some magical moments you couldn't have gotten anywhere else, but without the ending you were hoping for.  A three-run home run off the bat of Chris Coste when you thought that was impossible.  Aaron Rowand lifting his glove to show he held the ball with his face smashed.  Tom Gordon getting a miracle double-play ground ball to end a game when his defense had deserted him.  Those events exist for everyone, but if you can't appreciate them when they happen they're a line in a box score or a 15-second highlight.  F-8 on a scorecard.  And for some people that just might not be enough.  So much of the time it turns out it has to be, though, whether you're a Royals fan or a Yankees fan.  Every team but one is going to wind up with disappointed fans by the time this year is over, and for all those fans the moments along the way are going to have to be enough until their time comes.  And there's no promise it will ever come.  The moments, though, are spectacular.  For me they're enough.  And that's lucky, cause they're all that's left of the 2006 Phillies.  To be a baseball fan you don't have to learn to accept losing, but you have to learn to live with it.

And have we got a team for you.

The Phillies played their final game of the 2006 season this afternoon.  With the wins by San Diego and Los Angeles yesterday, the Phillies had already been eliminated from the playoffs, which is good since they lost 3-2 in eleven innings.  The Phillies end the year at 85-77, in second place in the NL East, 12 games behind the Mets.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk.  Just one of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run.  He struck out seven. 

Myers gave up a two-out single to Dan Uggla in the first, but got Wes Helms to fly to left to end the inning.

With two outs in the second, Alfredo Amezaga reached on a single and stole second.  Matt Treanor singled to left, scoring Amezaga to put the Marlins on top 1-0.  Myers struck out Jose Garcia to end the inning.

Myers set the Fish down 1-2-3 in the third.

The Phillies tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth.  Myers threw a 1-2-3 fourth and followed it up with a 1-2-3 fifth.

Myers got the first two in the sixth before Uggla homered to put the Marlins up 2-1.  Helms followed with a walk, but Myers struck out Joe Borchard to end the inning.

Brian Sanches started the seventh with the score tied at 2-2.  Chris Aguila led off with a double and Amezaga followed with a ground out to first that sent Aguila to third.  Treanor reached on an error by Nunez, but Willingham struck out and Jason Wood lined to short to end the inning.

Clay Condrey started the eighth with the score still tied at 2-2.  Robert Andino hit first and reached on an error by Sandoval at short.  Eric Reed was next and bunted, but Ruiz made a nice play to throw to second and start a double-play.  It saved a run cause Wes Helms followed with a double.  Condrey intentionally walked Joe Borched and struck out Aguila to end the inning.

Condrey returned to pitch the ninth and gave up a leadoff walk to Amezaga and Treanor bunted him to second.  Condrey got Reggie Abercrombie to fly to right and Wood to pop to second to set down the side.

Fabio Castro came on in the tenth and struck out the first two men he faced.  Helms singled to right, but Borchard grounded out to end the inning.

Casro returned for the eleventh and Florida quickly loaded the bases with nobody out on a single, a hit batter and a walk.  Pinch-hitter Paul Hoover hit a ground ball to short, and Sandoval came home for the first out with the bases still loaded.  Jason Wood was next and he hit a ground ball to short that Sandoval couldn't handle, scoring Amezaga from third to give the Marlins a 3-2 win.

The Marlins rushed the field to swarm the 36-year-old Wood, who got 17 at-bats with the Fish this season after last appearing in the majors in 1999.  Wood said, "I looked up and there was a swarm of Marlins coming at me.  It's the greatest feeling I've had in baseball."

The Phillies lineup against lefty Dontrelle Willis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Conine (7) Ruiz (8) Nunez.  Ruiz catches with Lieberthal done after the groin injury he suffered yesterday.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

In the second, Howard was hit by a pitch and Burrell followed with a walk.  Conine flew out to right for the first out, but Ruiz followed with a single that loaded the bases.  Nunez popped to short and Myers struck out to end the inning.

With two outs in the third, Utley, Howard and Burrell all walked to load the bases for Michael Bourn.  Bourn struck out to end the inning.

Nunez doubled with one out in the fourth.  Myers was next and struck out for the second out, but Sandoval followed Myers with a single that brought in Nunez and tied the game at 1-1.  Victorino flew out to center to end the frame.

Burrell walked with two outs in the fifth, but Bourn followed him and struck out.

Ruiz led off the sixth with a single, but Nunez hit a ball hard to right that Borchard caught and Ruiz was doubled off of first thinking it would go for extra-bases.  Awful job on the paths by Ruiz.  Myers struck out to end the inning.

Utley doubled with two outs in the seventh and Ryan Howard followed with an RBI-single that tied the game at 2-2.  Burrell struck out to end the inning.

Nunez walked with two outs in the eighth, but Hernandez struck out to end the inning.

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

In the tenth, Burrell was hit by a pitch with one out and Chris Roberson pinch-ran for him.  Michael Bourn was next and hit it hard, but right at second base and Roberson was doubled-up to end the inning.

Coste doubled with two outs in the eleventh, but Sandoval grounded to second to set the Phils down.

Rollins was 0-for-2.  Sandoval 1-for-4 with an RBI but looked bad in the field.

Victorino 0-for-5. 

Utley 1-for-4 with a double and a walk and struck out three times.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Burrell was 0-for-1 and walked three times and was hit by a pitch.

Conine 0-for-1.  Bourn was 0-for-4 and struck out twice.  He left five men on base.

Ruiz was 2-for-5 but made a big mistake running the bases.  Coste got into the game at first base and went 1-for-1 with a double.

Nunez was 1-for-4 with a walk.

The Phillies won yesterday, 4-3.

Randy Wolf got the start for the Phillies, making perhaps his last start with the Phillies and his last start as a $9 million pitcher.  He went just 1 2/3 innings and was charged with three runs on five hits and a walk.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple and two home runs.

With two outs in the first, Cabrera and Willingham homered back-to-back to put the Marlins up 2-0.  Helms followed with a single, but Ross grounded to third to end the inning.

With the Phillies up 3-2 in the second, Treanor hit a one-out triple.  Florida pitcher Scott Olsen followed with a single that scored Treanor and tied the game at 3-3.  Wolf got Ramirez to pop to third for the second out but walked Uggla to put runners on first and second with two down.  That was it for Wolf with the season on the line.  Manuel called on Madson, who got Cabrera to ground to third to end the inning.

Masdon pitched the third with the Phils up 4-3.  He got the first two before walking Cody Ross, who was caught stealing to end the inning.

With one out in the fourth, Madson allowed back-to-back singles to Treanor and Olsen.  Olsen's hit was a high hopping bunt right back in front of Lieberthal, who couldn't get an out and left the game with what may prove to be a serious injury to his groin.  Coste came in to catch.  The runners moved up a base on a wild pitch from Madson that should have been handled by Coste.  With runners on second and third and one down, Madson struck out Ramirez and got Uggla to ground to short to end the inning.

Rick White pitched the fifth with the Phils still up 4-3.  He allowed a one-out single to Willingham, but got the next two to get out of the inning.

Matt Smith threw a 1-2-3 sixth.

Geoff Geary started the seventh and Ramirez led off with an infield single.   Uggla flew out to left for the first out and Cabrera hit into a double-play to end the inning.

Geary returned for the eighth and gave up a one-out single to Helms.  Ross popped out for the second out and Borchard grounded to short to end the inning.

Gordon game on in the bottom of the ninth with the Phillies hanging on to a 4-3 lead.  Pinch-hitter Jason Wood doubled to left-center with one out.  Eric Reed pinch-ran for Wood, and went to third on a passed ball by Coste.  Ramirez hit a ground ball right back to the mound, and Gordon held Reed at third and got the second out.  Uggla was next, and he crushed the ball to left center.  Victorino made a long run and tracked it down to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Olsen went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Conine (7) Lieberthal (8) Nunez. 

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

Howard walked to lead off the second and Burrell followed and struck out.  Conine singled, sending Howard to second.  Lieberthal singled to center, scoring Howard and cutting the Marlins lead to 2-1 with runners on second and third as Conine and Lieberthal moved up a base on the throw home.  Nunez singled, bringing in both runners and putting the Phillies up 3-2.  Wolf and Rollins went down to end the inning.

Victorino doubled to lead off the third.  Utley followed and struck out.  Howard hit a ground ball to second, which Uggla fielded in shallow right with bizaroo-shift employed.  The ball pulled the first baseman off the bag, and Howard beat the covering Olsen to the bag while Victorino scored from second, putting the Phillies up 4-3.  Burrell and Conine both struck out to end the inning.

Nunez walked with one out in the fourth, but Madson bunted him to second and Rollins grounded to short to end the inning.

With one out in the fifth, Utley walked, Howard was hit by a pitch and Burrell walked to load the bases.  Conine popped out and Coste struck out to end the inning.

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

Victorino struck out to start the seventh, but Utley followed and walked.  Howard struck out for the second out but Burrell sent Utley to third with a bloop single into right.  Conine grounded to third to end the inning.

Chris Roberson was hit by a pitch with two down in the eighth, but Rollins grounded out to third to end the frame.

Victorino singled to lead off the ninth, and, in a one-run game with Utley at the plate and Howard coming up, was caught stealing second.  He would have been safe but slid through the bag and Ramirez did a nice job of holding the tag to get him for the out.  Utley grounded to first for the second out and Howard followed with a walk.  Randall Simon pinch-hit and flew out to center to end the inning.

Rollins was 0-for-5 and left three men on base.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a double.

Utley was 0-for-3 with two walks.

Howard was 1-for-2 with an RBI and two walks.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Conine was 1-for-4 and left six men on base.

Lieberthal was 1-for-2 with an RBI in what may be his final action with the Phillies.  Coste was 0-for-2 and bad defensively behind the plate.

Nunez was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Brett Myers faces TBA in April, 2007. 

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