Here's a feature we'll try out for the rest of the season (hell, we'll try new things in September, even if the Astros won't): a reaction to the game from the opposing team's perspective:
For the second straight night, the Astros, owners of the worst record in baseball, beat up the uncharacteristically sloppy Phillies. Cole Hamels allowed a season-high nine hits and the Phillies, who have the fewest errors in baseball this season, made two errors in a game for the first time in two months.
Delaware County Times:
The Phillies have not clinched a playoff spot. Yet. They will, they just haven’t managed to pop the cork on the champagne, despite needing only one win – or one loss against by the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s because the Phils have gone into lowly Houston and fallen on their face two straight nights. Last night it was Cole Hamels falling to the Astros. The Phils have now lost three straight.
The Phillies just pounded the Braves and Brewers, now they’re forced to fly to Houston and play baseball's rejects? Dangerous circumstances made worse by the fact that former teammates Brett Myers and J.A. Happ were pitching. I’d imagine Myers and Happ spent the better part of Sunday slipping out of SUVs and moping, all while thinking about sticking it to their former team. You can guess who did what.
They managed just five hits on the night, marking the first time in 32 games that the club hasn’t tallied at least six knocks. The fact that the Phils looked so inept against J.A. Happ, of all people, was salt in the wound.
The Houston Astros, post all-star break, are quickly ascending to “hobgoblin” status, as the Phillies dropped their second consecutive game to a fetid assortment of castoffs, has-beens, and fringy prospects that seems to turn into the 1927 Yankees at the mention of the word “Philadelphia.”
The Good Phight:
Maybe we should appreciate this. The almost universal excellence of the 2011 Phillies has meant precious few opportunities for a fan base long steeped in self-pity and paranoia to vent its fear and loathing... but this week in Houston, where the best team in baseball has dropped two straight not particularly close contests to the worst team in the game, fits the bill.
There's been whispers of 1964 already, and we'll have more talk on that year later in the month on this blog, but for now it's Houston and a slight signal that there may be a problem. We'll see what happens this afternoon when the Phils and the Astros wrap this series up.