Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Worley, Phillies can't throwback a win

By ROB PARENT, @ReluctantSE
PHILADELPHIA — On what felt more like just another sticky, stinky South Philly baseball night instead of a charming retro dip into 1990s nostalgia, the Phillies played along Wednesday by punkin’ their fans all night long.
Bronson Arroyo, the hippy dippy Reds pitcher whose previous experiences against the Phillies have been mostly dark and stormy, breezed through a 90s-style Phillies lineup of old and young, gifted but mostly otherwise, in leading Cincinnati to a 3-2 victory at Citizens Bank Park.

Consecutive singles by Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick in the fifth inning gave Arroyo a two-run pad, and Jay Bruce provided insurance with a bomb into the right-field bleacher seats in the eighth. It turned out to be the biggest run of the game.
The Phils scored a run in the ninth off overpowering Reds closer Aroldis Chapman when Ty Wigginton dribbled a bat-smashing RBI single to right. But Chapman would escape further trouble and help the Phils drop to 57-67, very ‘90s numbers.
“We were trying to come back,” manager Charlie Manuel said, “but we didn’t make it.”
To that end, it was another collective non-starter for the Phillies’ offense and was underscored by another mediocre outing for Vance Worley, who fell to 6-9 and watched his ERA continue to rise.
“I did get to six tonight. That felt good,” said Worley, who hadn’t pitched into a sixth inning in his last three starts. “I kept the team in it and (the Reds) really didn’t hit the ball hard, so I can say I did my job.”
So could Arroyo, and with a straight face.
Only Domonic Brown’s first home run of the season, also in the fifth, marred Arroyo’s outing. He would go 8-plus innings, allowing but three hits and two earned runs.
And he pitched better than that.
“He’s tough, man,” Brown said of Arroyo. “He’ll keep you off balance, as he did all night. He was spotting up and hitting his spots the whole night.”
Arroyo, who came into the game sporting a 9-7 mark and 3.96 ERA, was never so effective in Philly. Not by a longshot. His record against the Phillies prior to this visit was 1-7, and with a laughable 7.28 ERA. He lost his only playoff start against them, victimized by a blown save in Game 2 of the 2010 NLDS, and in two career games at CBP was 0-2 with a tidy 18.00 ERA.
“Yeah, I was surprised,” Manuel said of Arroyo’s effectiveness. “He was throwing a lot of slurves and change-ups and we were swinging at them. We didn’t hit him very good at all. We weren’t working him at all.”
Manuel pinpointed his favorite reason for that: “At times some of our veterans work the count better than other times,” he said. “Tonight wasn’t a good night for them.”
Appropriately, that occurred on a “Celebrate the 1990s” promo night, which was the most entertaining facet of the game for Phillies fans.
Take not-so retro Domonic Brown out of the picture and Arroyo might have toyed with history, too.
Brown’s homer was the only hit of the night for the Phillies until he came to bat with one out in the eighth. To that point, Arroyo had thrown but 78 pitches. Capping one of his best overall games with the big club, Brown — who made a leaping catch in right, lost a routine fly in the clouds, then made up for that by gunning Bruce out at home — promptly clubbed one off the fence in right-center for a double.
That didn’t seem to matter much when Placido Polanco followed by bouncing weakly toward third, but the ball somehow eluded Scott Rolen’s golden hands, and the Phils suddenly had a rally.
On came Brian Schneider, who grounded sharply up the middle ... but into a Reds mini-shift. Shortstop Zack Cozart gloved the ball on the other side of second base, performed a leaping backhand flip to Phillips, who had time to pivot and throw out Schneider for an inning-ending double play.
With the paying crowd paying heed to the urgency of the Phillies’ situation by actually performing a version of The Wave in the ninth inning, Arroyo attempted to finish a complete-game gem. Standing in the way was red-hot Kevin Frandsen, who had started the prior 20 games at third for the Phils but took a rest to give the semi-healthy Polanco some work. Frandsen’s infield single sent Reds manager Dusty Baker out to get Arroyo — who had thrown all of 86 pitches.
On came Chapman, who promptly jammed Jimmy Rollins into a popout. Chapman then sawed Wigginton’s bat in half — but he managed to squirt the ball into right, bringing home Frandsen. But Chapman got Chase Utley to pop out, and was fortunate to have Ryan Howard’s line drive land in left fielder Ludwick’s glove for the final out.
* * *
NOTES: Brown said he lost Bruce’s fly “in the twilight,” but he slightly celebrated throwing him out shortly thereafter for a double play. That Bruce homered later might not have been a coincidence: “I think I got Jay Bruce going,” Brown said, “and that’s not a good thing.” ... Worley dismisses speculation that physical problems might be weighing on him these days. Asked how his elbow feels, he responded, “It works.”


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