The next time the Phillies hand over a game to an NL rival that might cost them a chance at the post-season, closer Billy Wagner would greatly appreciate it if you were more careful about your choice of words. Thank you.
Was this the moment when the Phillies lost their chance at the 2005 postseason? Time will tell, but the Phillies’ clubhouse certainly had a funeral-parlor feel after they blew a one-run lead in incredible fashion in the ninth inning of an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros last night at Citizens Bank Park.
“First of all, we’re going to stop using devastating because it’s not devastating,” said closer Billy Wagner, who blew his first save since May 24 when Craig Biggio smacked a three-run homer to left field.
“New Orleans is devastating. Who do we have coming in? We have Florida. It’s not the end of the world. I’ll be out there. This team will be out there. And we’ll play hard like we did tonight.”
The Phillies had scored three runs in the eighth – thanks to Bobby Abreu’s two-run homer to center and Shane Victorino’s two-out, bases-loaded single to right – when Wagner entered in the ninth.
He had converted 23 consecutive save opportunities and had dominated for most of the season, but this inning started strangely.
First, instead of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” being played in the park as he left the bullpen, a video clip of the movie Armageddon misplayed to almost no sound. For at least 30 seconds, there was total silence as Wagner trotted onto the field.
After Wagner recorded two outs, third baseman David Bell booted a ball as Jose Vizcaino reached on an error. Willy Taveras, a rookie-of-the-year candidate who kills teams with his speed, followed and reached on an infield single to shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
“I would have liked to have made the play,” Bell said. “If I make the play, the game is over. It’s that simple.”
If anybody other than Taveras is running, the game is over.
But it wasn’t. And that’s when Biggio, a good friend of Wagner’s, crushed a 1-1 fastball to left field for the three-run homer.
“What’s worse is that he just signed a… jersey for my son,” Wagner said. ” ‘Here, son, here’s a jersey signed by the guy who just hit a homer off your dad.’ “
I do sympathize with Wagner. The HR he allowed to Biggio would’ve been an out a ballpark other than cozy CBP —-say, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, for instance. Bell’s error came on a routine play. Not much to say about Tavares other than a) he’s got something like 60 infield hits this season, which is insane and b) they were much better when they were called Chubby & The Turnpikes.