Well, that could have gone better.
J. D. Durbin looked like D.T. Young, Jayson Werth looked like Ty Cobb, Lastings Milledge looked like Ryan Thompson, Jose Reyes looked like a distracted 13-year-old in the infield, Carlos Delgado looked like his post-knee-tweak self, and Brian Lawrence and Chase Utley looked like their usual selves. Which all added up to a big, steaming portion of suck for us to choke down.
Once upon a time I was excited about this game. Something akin to the original-plan lineup on the field all at the same time, Met fans invading Philly for the possible end of the Phils' season, Pedro pitching down in Florida, the calendar getting closer to magic numbers and October plans. And all those things could still prove true this week — but not if we play the way we did tonight and they play the way they did tonight.
This one looked raggedy from the moment Country Joe West's gift out on Jimmy Rollins couldn't spring Lawrence from a jam. The Phils hit the hell out of most anybody who showed up, and these weren't cheapies — those shots by Pat the Bat and Utley would have been out anywhere, and Ryan Howard's tracer almost went through the outfield wall. Meanwhile, while they were doing their Ut-most, we looked off at the plate (substitute Conine for Alou in the “Missed Hanging Breaking Ball That Could Have Changed Complexion of the Game” file), deplorably lackadaisical in the field, pissy in the dugout, overly chummy in the bullpen (get back topside, Wagner) and, eventually, outnumbered in the stands. About the only sight I enjoyed was a glimpse of an apparently mobile Endy Chavez (who sure looks like he'll get a chance to claim right field, now that the flu and youth have set Milledge back) and the return of Lo Duca, who was in midseason form when it came to barking at C.B. Bucknor and glowering at anyone who rubbed him wrong, a list that eventually included most everybody.
The Phillies, for all the fight they showed tonight, are battling not just us but time — and time may prove their toughest antagonist. They have to go on an enormous run, starting right now. We just have to stay afloat. Same goes for the Braves, last seen demolishing the Marlins. You wouldn't think either of those teams can go on such a run, seeing how they've gagged on every conceivable chance to make up ground this summer. On the other hand, you wouldn't think we'd survive the June and July we endured, yet somehow we did. We'd like a relatively bland, excitement-free trek to October, but this has been a season for strange doings. And when Schoeneweis was ducking beneath tracer shots, it was hard to find much comfort in stretch-drive math. Tomorrow is another day. A better day than this one would be nice.