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September 13, 2013

What You Need to Know

Meltdown Madness

by Daniel Rathman


The Thursday Takeaway
Meltdowns aren’t much fun for anyone, but Thursday brought three of them—two in one game, plus an all-timer in another.

We’ll begin in Philadelphia, where the Padres handed Tyson Ross a 1-0 edge in the top of the first inning when Will Venable led off with a home run, his career-high 22nd of the season. Over the previous month and a half, Ross had made nine starts and compiled a 2.16 ERA, the product of a 63-to-17 K:BB ratio and just two homers allowed in 58 1/3 innings. The impending nightmare was difficult to foresee.

But things went awry almost immediately after the 26-year-old Ross finished his warm-up tosses. An infield single, another single, and a passed ball put two men in scoring position with nobody out. Another single followed by a double put the Phillies up 3-1. After yet another single, and then a walk, Ross seemed to settle in with a couple of swinging strikeouts. But then he walked Roy Halladay with the bases loaded, and Bud Black had seen enough.

Long reliever Anthony Bass didn’t help Ross. He promptly surrendered a double to Cesar Hernandez, who started the rally with the aforementioned infield single, and the inning ended only because Halladay was gunned down trying to score what would have been the Phillies’ seventh run.

Ryne Sandberg’s club got that seventh run in the bottom of the third inning on—how else?—a bases-loaded walk, this one drawn by Jimmy Rollins. Up by six runs and with Halladay on their side a couple of years ago, the Phillies might have been able to sleepwalk through the rest of the game. But sadly, Halladay is no longer what he once was.

The top of the fifth inning made that painfully clear. Halladay retired Reymond Fuentes to begin that frame, and continuing to throw strikes with a six-run cushion should have been second nature. But he walked Venable, and Alexi Amarista, and Jedd Gyorko, who had walked only once in his previous 28 games. With the bases loaded, he walked Chase Headley, forcing in a run. And then, with the bases still loaded, he turned an infield single by Tommy Medica into a two-run double with a throwing error. By that point, Sandberg, much like his counterpart in the Padres dugout four innings earlier, had seen enough.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (09/13)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/12)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (09/16)
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