Never should the umpires take the story away from a game. Especially in a game that went 16 innings and last five hours and 20 minutes, saw 15 different pitchers, and even saw an ace play left field for two innings.
But instead, third base umpire Scott Barry was the story in the Phillies 4-2 loss in 16 innings to Houston.
I should be talking about another seven inning, two-run effort by Cole Hamels being wasted. I should be talking about Jimmy Rollins’ game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth. I should be talking about Ryan Howard’s five strike outs. I should be talking about how anemic the offense was despite having it’s starting eight back in the line up together for the first time since May 21.
But instead, Barry baited Howard into an ejection in the 14th inning that left the Phillies with one option, putting Roy Oswalt in left field and moving Raul Ibanez to first, a position he hadn’t played since May 2005.
With an 0-1 count, Howard checked his swing but Barry, who was the third base umpire for the game, said Howard went around. Howard was obviously heated about that call, kept going with the at-bat.
With a 1-2 count, Howard checked his swing once again, clearly not even coming close to a swing and Barry said he went for strike three. Howard threw his bat and was immediately ejected by Barry.
Barry then said something to Howard which forced him to charge at Barry and the big man needed to be restrained by third base coach Sam Perlozzo and Placido Polanco. Charlie Manuel came out and was ejected and Ross Gload, who is on the DL, was ejected from the dugout. Both were tossed by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
The officiating in recent years has become somewhat of a disgrace, from the blatant blown calls to the arrogance of umpires. Though I know a majority of umpires hate the fact that video review for more than home runs is looming, they are certainly proving why it’s necessary.
So Howard was ejected and the Phillies were screwed. They had exhausted their bull pen and bench in the game, leaving them with a hole at first base. So they opted with throwing Oswalt in left and move Ibanez to first where both players did alright.
The first batter in the top of the 15th hit a fly ball straight to Oswalt, in which he squeezed for the first out, bringing a loud ovation from the fans. Ibanez made a nice diving play at first base before he dropped a throw to first that would of limited the damage in the 16th to just one run.
The bull pen had gone 8 1/3 innings of shut out ball until David Herndon ran out of gas in his third inning of work. No blame gets put on him as he loaded the bases and allowed an infield hit and a missed double-play opportunity to put two runs on the board for Houston. He did his job and the balls were just placed where the fielders couldn’t make a play.
The Phillies stranded 19 runners total in the game. They were also 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. This can not happen in a 16-inning game in the middle of a divisional and wild card race.
Howard went 0-for-7 and was the first major league player to do so since Jim Thome did it in 2004 with guess who: the Phillies. Howard is also 2-for-19 with 12 strike outs since coming off the DL. He and Chase Utley have not been affective since making their returns to the Phillies line up, causing speculation that they weren’t ready to come back up.
With the Braves loss, the Phillies remained 2 1/2 game back of Atlanta. But San Francisco won, pulling them with a tie for the wild card with Philadelphia.
Roy Halladay will face another former Phillies making his first career start against the Phightins in J.A. Happ. Happ was a part of the trade that brought Oswalt to the Phillies.
2B: Ibanez 2 (26). HR: Rollins (6).
WP: Fulchino (1-0). LP: Herndon (1-3).