Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Phils own version of 'Groundhog Day'

The Phillies are living their own version of the Bill Murray flick “Groundhog Day.”

In the movie, Murray played a burned-out weatherman sent to cover the festivities in Punxsutawney, only to wake up every day and find he was repeating the circumstances over and over again.

Likewise, the Phillies wake up every morning and find themselves two and a half games back of the Braves in the National League East race.

They missed a golden opportunity to slice a game off the Braves lead last night when Atlanta lost. So of course the Phils promptly coughed up a 2-1 lead and lost to the Astros, 3-2.

There were a lot of elements that went into this loss, not the least of which is that former Phil Brett Myers gave the Astros another quality start, getting the win. Two other former Phillies, Michael Bourn and Jason Michaels, played key parts in the Astros’ rally.

That rally was fueled in part by a bunt by Bourn in which he managed to evade the tag by Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. First off, Howard claims he in fact nicked Bourn with the tag. More importantly, it certainly appeared as if Bourn stretched the baseline to evade the tag.
Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel made that point to first base umpire Greg Gibson to no avail. He got tossed for his efforts.

And finally, speaking of “Groundhog Day,” there was still one more bone-headed base-running blunder by Jayson Werth.

The Phillies outfielder was on second base when the Astros decided to intentionally walk red-hot catcher Carlos Ruiz. But after snagging ball four, the Astros catcher stood up and gunned the ball to second, where Werth was suffering still one more brain cramp. Werth obviously was not paying attention to the play after the intentional pass and was tagged out to end the inning.

Remember this happened during an intentional walk!

Everyone today will be talking about the call that allowed the eventual winning run to get on base for the Astros during that bunt and attempted tag.

That’s an umpire’s call and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
Manuel made his feelings known and got tossed for his effort.

Today he needs to sit down with his right-fielder and try to figure out why he continues to suffer these base-running blunders.

In the meantime, the Phils lost a golden opportunity to close in on the Braves. And they saw their lead in the NL Wild Card shaved to a single run after the Cards won.

This is one “Groundhog Day” story we don’t need to see again.


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