If a baseball team’s season dies at SunTrust Park and no one is around to watch it, does it make a difference? I didn’t think so.
Those who did, for whatever reason, check in to see if the Phillies could at least make things interesting in Atlanta this weekend instead saw a team play a willing victim to a thorough beatdown delivered by the soon-to-be NL East champion Braves. In an absolute had-to-have game, Gabe Kapler’s team could not: execute routine plays, reach base, get out Braves hitters in key spots, or bother to show any urgency with its season hanging in the balance. I don’t know how to recite the same old story yet again, so let’s keep this simple. I stand not amazed by any of the following that occurred.
- Carlos Santana, a first baseman playing third base who was shifted to shortstop, failing to handle a playable ball off the bat of Freddie Freeman in the first inning
- The non-continuous double-play allowing a run to score in the first inning
- Vince Velasquez, who entered the night with an 0-4 record and 7.41 ERA against the Braves this season, lasting only three innings
- The Phillies offense producing one hit over the final six innings
- Aaron Altherr’s lack of hustle allowing Dansby Swanson to take second base in the seventh inning of a tie game
- Three wild pitches
- Gabe Kapler turning to Luis Garcia in a big spot, and Garcia failing to produce
- Tommy Hunter allowing the eventual game-winning run
This game was the 2018 Phillies personified, and there was a losing pitcher no more fitting than Hunter, who much like his team is not that bad, but completely joyless to watch. Maybe that helps explain why I don’t feel disappointed or frustrated by the end of this collapse that has been six weeks in the making. I feel free.