Sunday, October 07, 2007

Colorado Advances

In the end, it wasn't the pitching. Jamie Moyer threw the game of his life last night, battling Coors Field, an inconsistent strike zone and a red-hot Rockies lineup and only allowed one run.

No, the problem was the Phillies' bats. Overeager, they jumped on too many first pitches, rolled over too many weak grounders to second base, and gave away too many opportunities. Pat Burrell's at-bat in the top of the sixth is, in my mind, what sealed their fate. For a moment, the Phillies had looked like the Phillies. With one out, Jimmy Rollins worked a walk. He stole second, unhinging rookie pitcher Ubaldo Jiminez, who then gave the struggling Chase Utley a free pass as well. At a moment like this, when a kid pitcher is losing his control and his composure, the time-tested approach is to force him to get you out, to lay back and wait to see if he can throw strikes, and if he can't, to wait on the meatball coming down the pike once he digs himself into a whole.

Burrell swung at the first pitch and popped out. The next batter, Ryan Howard, tapped weakly to second. Rally over, season over. Everything else was anticlimax.
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