I can spend all morning attacking last night’s game from all possible angles. Instead, the Philadelphia papers covered all the bases this morning. Here are the myriad lowlights of the game that may have ended the Phils' chances at the postseason:
Phil Sheridan, Inquirer: "If that was it, and it almost certainly was, then the Phillies' playoff chances died a fitting death last night.
"There was David Bell, the personification of so much that has frustrated fans all season, chugging around second base with 36,150 fans and roughly 30 men in his own dugout screaming: No!
".... But this loss wasn't fitting just because Manuel didn't use Endy Chavez (or almost anyone else) to run for Bell. That was a mistake. The point is that the mistake never should have mattered that much. It simply shouldn't have come to that.
"The jackals will want to blame Manuel for this loss, as they blame him for most losses. But the Phillies lost this game and very likely the wild-card berth because they couldn't generate any offense against Mets starter Victor Zambrano, who came in with a 7-11 record and a 4.10 earned run average.
"They scored just two runs, and those only because the Mets committed two errors in the fifth inning. The Phillies left 11 runners on base."
Paul Hagen, Daily News: "They lost because David Bell made an inexcusably airheaded baserunning mistake in the eighth, short-circuiting a potential rally by being thrown out at third when he represented the potential tying run.
"They lost, maybe, because manager Charlie Manuel decided not to replace Bell with a speedier runner in that situation.
"They lost because they didn't take advantage of the scoring opportunities presented to them by erratic Mets starter Victor Zambrano and the bullpen arms that followed. They left 11 runners on base, five of them in scoring position. And both their runs were unearned, compliments of two New York errors and a wild pitch in the fifth.
"They lost because, even though leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 32 games, it was Mets leadoff hitter Jose Reyes who wreaked the kind of havoc at the top of the order that has been Rollins' specialty the last month. Reyes had a single, two doubles, a triple, stole a base and scored two runs.
"They lost because, for some reason, they've just had a devil of a time beating this division rival. They're 6-11 against the New Yorkers this season."
Paul Hagen picked a strange time to tell readers that "there is no such thing as momentum in this sport," considering Jimmy Rollins just set a franchise record with a 32-game hitting streak, and garbage pitcher Victor Zambrano held them hitless for three innings after an emotional loss the night before. It’s pretty typical of the way Hagan writes baseball, almost like it isn’t played by human beings. Still, I enjoy his articles.
What is it with the Phillies swinging on the first pitch when Asian walk machine Kaz Ishii comes into the game? Once again, Ryan Howard chased the first pitch from the left-hander and tapped out with men on base. The No. 1 reason why they've failed against the Mets is they haven't been smart.
Charlie Manuel is blowing it big time this series. There's no question that you pinch run Chavez in that situation. David Bell's baserunning blunder is all Bell, however, not the fault of third base coach Bill Dancy.
I need to speak out about Pat Burrell’s weak whiff in the seventh, and Bobby Abreu’s mega-weak whiff in the ninth.
For the game, Burrell stranded four runners on two strikeouts, and Abreu stranded a runner at third with a strikeout in the third and grounded out before Burrell's strikeout in the seventh, then whiffed with a runner on second to end the game.
It’s the second-straight night Burrell has come up small, and for Abreu ... all I can say is if that last at bat is any indication of his poor health, then he’s hurting the team by not sitting. I’d rather have a 100 percent fresh Jason Michaels playing instead of a player that has actually hurt them this series.