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The Phillies played some embarrassing baseball tonight

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The Phillies have been embarrassing for the last two months. It’s no secret, as the club entered Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals at 22-47, a full three games worse than the next-worst team (Padres, 27-46). There’s not a whole lot they’ve done right this year. The Phillies have the third-worst offense in baseball, the fifth-worst pitching staff, and they have the fifth-worst stolen base success rate. The bullpen had blown 12 saves, tied for the fifth-most in baseball.

Somehow, the Phillies managed to raise the bar for embarrassment on Wednesday night. The game was fine through eight innings, as the Phillies were holding onto a 5-4 lead. Hector Neris took the mound to start the ninth, looking to lock down the save. After getting Yadier Molina to fly out, Neris served up a game-tying solo home run to Tommy Pham, blowing the save. That moved the Phillies into a tie with four other teams for the major league lead in blown saves.

The Phillies, to their credit, rallied in the bottom of the ninth as Howie Kendrick singled with one out. Odubel Herrera reached after hitting into a 5-4 force out at second. Freddy Galvis then hit a weak line drive down the third base line that bounced off of the facing of the stands, back into shallow left field. Herrera is fast, but not score-from-first-on-a-grounder-to-left-fast. Herrera wheeled around third base as third base coach Juan Samuel threw up the stop sign. Herrera ignored it and was thrown out by a good 15 feet by Pham from left field.

It gets worse. Edubray Ramos started the 10th inning of a 5-5 game. He immediately allowed a double to Jose Martinez, putting the go-ahead run at second base. During Matt Carpenter‘s at-bat, Ramos balked, moving Martinez to third. After striking Carpenter out, Dexter Fowler was intentionally walked. Aledmys Diaz pinch-hit for Brett Cecil. During Diaz’s at-bat, Ramos attempted to pick Fowler off at first base, but airmailed the throw to Tommy Joseph. Martinez scored the go-ahead run easily and Fowler advanced to second base. Adam Morgan relieved Ramos and got Diaz to fly out. Morgan then intentionally walked Jedd Gyorko to bring up Yadier Molina, who singled to right field, giving the Cardinals a crucial insurance run. Pham struck out looking to mercifully end the inning.

The Phillies again rallied in the bottom of the 10th, scoring a run to close the gap to 7-6, but would eventually lose when closer Seung-Hwan Oh struck out Aaron Altherr swinging. Last night, Ramos and Casey Fien combined to allow seven runs in the 11th inning to lose to the Cardinals 8-1. That inning included back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, a Maikel Franco error, and home runs from Molina and Pham.

I’ve been a Phillies fan since before I could even talk. I lived through the absolutely dreadful teams the Phillies put together between the mid-1990’s and the mid-2000’s. The rosters were chock full of relatively untalented players who lacked fundamentals in one way or another. Having watched this year’s iteration of the Phillies, now 22-48 and losers of 39 of their last 50 games, I feel confident in saying that the 2017 Phils are the worst team, fundamentally and otherwise, of my lifetime. Wednesday’s game was, to date, the apex of their season-long bout of incompetence.

Fans have become increasingly frustrated, and understandably so. A team committed to a rebuild has yet to show any positive signs. Franco and Herrera (until recently) have punched well below their weight. No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford has a .562 OPS at Triple-A. Young pitchers like Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola, and Hector Neris have had inconsistent seasons at best. As the 2011-14 Astros showed us, however, sometimes you have to play really bad baseball before you play really good baseball, so there is precedent for teams as bad or worse than the Phillies eventually recovering. It’s just really hard to watch right now.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 12, Mets 0; Mariners 5, Tigers 4: It was a huge night for the Seager brothers: Corey hit three homers for the Dodgers, driving in six. Kyle hit a walkoff double to give the M’s the win over the Tigers. My brother and I have never had a night quite that eventful, but one time in 1992 my brother, while home on leave from the Navy, skateboarded down the road in front of our house naked on the very same night I got violently ill after drinking too much Jack Daniel’s (I was 19, so “too much” was “any”) and woke up on the bathroom floor. That’s basically the same thing, right?

Giants 6, Braves 3: Atlanta had a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth, but Julio Teheran ran out of gas, giving up a three-run homer to Austin Slater. Ian Kroll came in after him and gave up two more runs — one charged to him, one to Teheran — and there was no coming back from that. Regarding that homer from Austin Slater: not bad for someone who is obviously a fictional character from a straight-to-VHS 90s action movie. Indeed, I don’t think there is any more of a 1990s name than Austin Slater. That’s the name equivalent of JNCO jeans crossed with a 1-800-COLLECT commercial.

Orioles 6, Indians 5: The Orioles can’t pitch, but when your third baseman goes 4-for-4, hits two homers and drives in four, you have a fighting chance. He also scored the winning run following a double in the seventh. Can Manny Machado pitch?

Angels 8, Yankees 3: You’ll be shocked to learn that Tyler Clippard came into a tie game and coughed up the lead. Shocked, I say!  Here it was Cameron Maybin hitting a solo homer off of him in the seventh. Clippard then gave up a double and an RBI triple. The guy who hit the triple — Yunel Escobar — would then score after Clippard got the hook. The Yankees have lost seven in a row and have fallen out of first place thanks to this loss and . . .

Red Sox 8, Royals 3: . . . this win. Chris Sale pitched eight and a third, striking out ten. Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon each drove in a pair, and recent callups Sam Travis and third baseman Deven Marrero drove in a run each.

Cardinals 8, Phillies 1: You don’t often see teams win extra innings game by seven runs, but the Cards did it. A pitcher’s duel between Mike Leake and Jeremy Hellickson had it at 1-1 at the end of regulation, but the Phillies bullpen — specifically, Edubray Ramos and Casey Fein — hemorrhaged runs in the 11th inning. Stephen Piscotty doubled in two and then Yadier Molina and Tommy Pham piled on with two-run homers.  Matt Carpenter‘s RBI double ended the carnage. Philly has lost 12 of its last 13 games.

Nationals 12, Marlins 3:  Stephen Drew had three hits and three RBI and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs with a double and a single as the Nats romped. In other news, Nats starter Gio Gonzalez had a friend sitting behind the dugout who got hit in the head with a bat, but go on and tell me that netting is a “creature of the nanny state,” my dude.

Rays 6, Reds 5: The Rays had a 6-2 lead at one point, but the Reds made it close with three-runs late thanks in large part to sloppy outfield play by the Rays. That sloppy play was by Corey Dickerson, covering center for the injured Kevin Kiermaier, so yeah. Dickerson had some karma to burn, though, as he singled in a run and homered earlier in the contest.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: Pittsburgh jumped all over Zach Davies in the first inning with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer. Davis would say on to wear this one — seven runs on ten hits over five innings — but he was a dead man walking after that first inning. McCutchen would later add a homer, giving both him and Ozuna three RBI on the night.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 1Pittsburgh Texas jumped all over Zach Davies Francisco Liriano in the first inning, with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer Adrian Beltre grounding in a run, Carlos Gomez hitting a solo homer and Jonathan Lucroy and Mike Napoli doubling in and singling in runs, respectively. Beltre And Nomar Mazara would later hit solo shots as Nick Martinez allowed only one run in six and a third.

Cubs 4, Padres 0: Anthony Rizzo was not hit by a pitch in retaliation for that controversial slide during his first at bat last night. I’m glad he wasn’t — plunking dudes is bad form — but the Padres may have been better off if they had hit him. Because as it was he led off the game with a homer, and that homer would prove to be the only run the Cubs would need. Rizzo now has three leadoff homers, which ties him for the NL lead. He has batted leadoff for only seven games. He is 6-for-6 with a walk to open the first inning. Starter Mike Montgomery allowed three hits and two walks in six innings, striking out four.

Twins 9, White Sox 7: Kennys Vargas and Miguel Sano each hit long homers — Vargas’ was ridiculous — as both teams beat the hell out of ineffective opposing starting pitchers in Ervin Santana and Derek Holland.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Nolan Arenado hit a two-run triple off Zack Greinke in the eighth inning to help the Rockies rally past Arizona. Carlos Gonzalez homered and saved a run with a diving catch to help Colorado win its sixth straight. Something special is happening with this club.

Astros 8, Athletics 4: Anthony Rizzo may have a nice number of leadoff homers, but he’s got nothin’ on George Springer, who hit his eighth leadoff blast of the season in this one. That helped kick off a five run first. The A’s chipped away at that lead one run at a time, but Carlos Correa‘s two-run single in the eighth and Carlos Beltran‘s homer in the ninth put it away definitively.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: The White Sox extended their winning streak to three games on Saturday, bolstered by six solid innings from Mike Pelfrey and three home runs from Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu. Frazier tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a fielding error by Josh Donaldson to put the Sox up 4-2, while Yolmer Sanchez delivered a sac bunt for the fifth and final run of the game.

Indians 9, Twins 3 (Game 1): The Twins relinquished first place to the Indians, tying their division rivals at the top of the AL Central standings after their first loss of Saturday’s doubleheader. Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer combined for eight of the Indians’ nine RBI, a performance that was highlighted by Ramirez’s first-inning home run off of Adam Wilk and Zimmer’s line drive double in the third.

Indians 6, Twins 2 (Game 2): After a short break between games, during which the Twins kept busy by signing first-round draft pick Royce Lewis, the Indians cemented their first-place status with another win. Mike Clevinger went 4 1/3 innings before the teams entered a one-hour rain delay, distributing two hits and a run and striking out four of 15 batters. At the plate, the Twins struck first on a Joe Mauer double in the third inning, but the Indians responded in full force, lashing four home runs to gain a four-run advantage.

Rockies 5, Giants 1: Sometimes, it’s not the quality of hits that matters, but the quantity. The Rockies racked up 13 singles and one double during their five-run rout of the Giants, forcing opposing starter Matt Cain to exit after just five frames, nine hits and two runs. Kyle Freeland, meanwhile, went a full six innings for his eighth win of the year, and survived a scary moment when he took a line drive off of his left forearm in the third inning:

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 1: Jerad Eickhoff was having a pretty good night, all things considered. He outlasted the Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley, tossing six frames on five hits and one run, and appeared to be in line for his first win of the season. That all changed in the seventh inning, when the D-backs pounced on relievers Edubray Ramirez and Casey Fien for a four-run lead that proved insurmountable. With the loss, the Phillies are now just 1-10 in their last 11 games.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Ryon Healy may not be drawing the same kind of attention lavished on sluggers like Aaron Judge or Eric Thames, but he’s creeping up on their home run totals after completing his third multi-homer game of the month. He went 3-for-4 on Saturday, connecting twice for his 16th and 17th blasts of the season.

His first home run came courtesy of a 1-2 cutter from Masahiro Tanaka, knotting the score 2-2 in the second inning:

His second, a 3-2 solo shot in the fourth, propelled the A’s past the Yankees with a one-run lead:

Orioles 15, Cardinals 7: Adam Wainwright didn’t stand a chance against the Orioles. The Cardinals’ right-hander issued back-to-back runs to Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo in the first inning, which looked like child’s play compared to the seven-run spread that awaited him in the second inning. Baltimore lost little time establishing a lead, collecting five hits, two walks and seven runs off of Wainwright before he was forced off the mound. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the bullpen fared little better in Wainwright’s absence, handing over another four runs before the game’s 15-7 conclusion.

Dodgers 10, Reds 2: The Reds are 5-13 against NL West opponents this season, thanks in no small part to their current eight-game losing streak against the Dodgers and Rockies. Saturday’s game was the worst of the eight losses, led by a five-run third inning and a rare two-homer effort from Yasiel Puig. With the win, the Dodgers maintained their second-place status in the division, just on the heels of the 45-26 Rockies.

Braves 8, Marlins 7 (10 innings): The Freeze rebounded for another win on Saturday night, an omen of good luck as the Braves stormed back from a 7-5 deficit to clinch their 30th win of the season in extras. More exciting than Matt Adams‘ four-RBI night, Nick Markakisgame-tying double and Brandon Phillipswalk-off base hit in the 10th? This postgame interview with the Marlins’ Dee Gordon, who discussed a potential race against the Braves’ racing phenom… even one without the standard 200-foot head start.

Padres 7, Brewers 5 (11 innings): The Padres prevailed in extras for their 28th win of the season, capping an impressive start by rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Lamet fired 12 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four hits and three runs — one of which was an inside-the-park home run by Brewers’ shortstop Orlando Arcia.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Lamet pitched his way into the history books, becoming just the 22nd rookie hurler to set down 12+ strikeouts within his first five career games in the majors.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: A pitcher’s duel can have only one victor, as the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer discovered the hard way on Saturday. He went toe-to-toe against the Rays’ Chris Archer for four scoreless frames, but lost some of his edge in the fifth inning, surrendering an RBI base hit to Daniel Robertson and allowing another two runs in the seventh on Robertson’s second RBI single and a go-ahead base hit from Mallex Smith.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: After going 1-5 in their last two series, the Nationals are back on top with a three-game win streak against the Mets. Another three-home run effort solidified their lead on Saturday, powered by blasts from Trea Turner, Jose Lobaton and Adam Lind and a five-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg.

Rangers 10, Mariners 4: The Rangers may still be a distant second to the 46-23 Astros, but you wouldn’t know it by their dominant run this past week. They’re 7-1 against the Nationals, Astros and Mariners, putting up consecutive 10-4 wins in Seattle to stay one step ahead of the third-place Angels. On Saturday, they got things started with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Mike Napoli‘s two-out homer off of Yovani Gallardo:

The Mariners made a good-faith effort to catch up with an RBI double from Taylor Motter and Mike Zunino’s seventh home run of the year, but it wasn’t enough to overtake their rivals, who returned in the sixth with another five-run spread on three homers from Napoli, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo.

Astros 7, Red Sox 1: The Astros coasted to a much-needed win on Saturday, banking on six solid innings from rookie right-hander David Paulino. Paulino fanned four of 21 batters, holding the Red Sox to just three hits and one run to clinch his first big league win. Helping matters was the seven runs of support he received from a blistering offensive drive, featuring the Astros’ three-run first inning, home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran and a run-scoring double play by Norichika Aoki.

Altuve’s blast crowned the Astros’ impressive run, measuring an estimated 428 feet and ricocheting off the train in left field:

Pirates 4, Cubs 3: The Cubs took a tough loss to their division rival on Saturday night, one that Jake Arrieta later pinned on the high humidity at PNC Park. The heat caused Chicago’s ace to sweat profusely, making the ball too slippery to find consistency within the strike zone. He exited in the fifth inning after loading the bases on a hit by pitch, and issued two wild pitches during his abbreviated start.

It wasn’t all bad news for Arrieta and the Cubs, however. The right-hander struck out the side in the second, registering seven strikeouts before making an early exit. At the plate, he logged his second home run of the year off of opposing starter Ivan Nova, skying it 380 feet into the left field bleachers to put the Cubs on the board in the fifth:

Angels 9, Royals 0: Don’t look now, but Cameron Maybin has a pretty nifty streak going. The Angels’ outfielder has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, bringing his season batting line to a comfortable .267/.375/.408 through 224 PA. He kicked things off on Saturday with a first-pitch home run off of Jake Junis in the first inning:

Maybin wasn’t the only Angel to earn recognition for his prowess at the plate. Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 against the Royals and smashed a two-run homer in the fifth inning, earning his 1,865th career RBI — good for tenth-most among all past and present major league hitters.