Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happ out-duels Halladay, Phils lose series to Houston

Once again, the Phillies struggle against Houston and fail to gain any ground on teams in the race. Yesterday, Atlanta, San Francisco and St. Louis all lost. Of course, so did the Phillies.

J.A. Happ was excellent in his return to Philly, out-dueling Roy Halladay who had a six-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Houston continues to give the Phillies fits and add to their NL best record at Citizen's Bank Park.

Of course, there was more umpire controversy last night. Down by a run with one out, Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and proceeded to first base. But Victorino was called back and it was ruled that he turned into the pitch. He clearly pulled his arm and elbow back, but didn't jump out of the way, a very common occurrence in Major League Baseball that goes uncalled nearly every time. He didn't push his arm into the pitch, but he didn't try his hardest to avoid it either. It's a play that will be ruled a hit batter 99 out of 100 times. Nevertheless, Victorino atoned for the call and singled a few pitches later.

Ben Francisco was picked off at third base by the catcher, another bonehead play on the base-paths. He represented the tying run at the time. It appeared to be more umpire controversy but upon review, the correct call was clearly made.

The Phillies desperately hope to avoid a four-game sweep this afternoon at the hands of the lowly Houston Astros. Their hope now rests in the right arm of Kyle Kendrick, and hopefully the bats.

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