Footage of tonight's postgame team meeting probably won't be airing on The MLB Network any time soon. After another lifeless loss, the team's eleventh defeat in thirteen games, Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, and General Manager Ruben Amaro, met with the club for twenty minutes. The meeting was likely as ugly as the game that preceded it, a 6-1 loss in Toronto. Perhaps the postgame airing of grievances will spark the Phils' play. The club still leads the lackluster NL East, but if they continue winning games at a .154 clip, one of their divisional opponents may be able to catch them.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phils, so good starting pitching, at least, was expected. Hamels provided just that...for three innings. The ace was clipped for a run in the fourth, and then fell apart in a hideous fifth inning. Questionable umpiring, a lack of composure by Hamels, poor fielding (by Pedro Feliz, and Hamels) lead to a disastrous three-run fifth. With two outs, and Hamels at 105 pitches, Manuel removed the frustrated southpaw from the game. Hamels had some final comments for home plate umpire Mark Carlson, who ejected Hamels as a parting gift. Chan Ho Park entered the game, and retired the side. However, in the process of retiring that batter, Park fell to the infield in obvious anguish. Park would leave the game with a right knee contusion, which may necessitate a stint on the Disabled List. (Park could join disabled relief-mates Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey in a "very special episode of The Pen!")
With the Phils trailing 3-0 in the eighth, Brad Lidge, fresh from a DL stint of his own, entered the game. Lidge faced five batters, permitting two hits, two walks, and two runs. Lidge did procure an out, so there's that. J.C. Romero relieved Lidge after twenty-four pitches, and allowed one of the three baserunners he inherited to score. Fortunately, Lidge will pitch better in save situations, right? (Ugh.)
The Philadelphia bats were not as effective as their pitching counterparts. After six innings, they had not recorded a single hit off Jays' starter Ricky Romero. All that remained was to root for history, a no-hitter that would surely inspire the Phillies in future games, right? No, no, no. The Phillies could have still pulled this game out, why the duck would we root for them to get no-hit/lose? The Phils' offense broke up the no-hitter in the seventh, and exploded for three hits in the game. The team's extra-base hit streak ended at ninety-five games, but they did manage to plate a run. Unfortunately, it was in the top of the ninth, when they needed six to tie. At that point, most Phillies' fans were likely focusing on the end of the IronPigs' win.
The Phillies play the Jays again, with J.A. Happ starting, in a Saturday matinee. Jimmy Rollins may return at shortstop, replacing The Hitless Wonder, Eric Bruntlett. Manuel might also try some other moves to shake up the slumping ballclub. Hopefully, Friday's team meeting will have some immediate effects, and Manuel won't try to spark the Phils by inserting Gabor Paul Bako II into the lineup.