Friday, May 07, 2004

Cardinals 7, Phillies 4 | The day was sparkling, the play less so. On a postcard-perfect day at Citizens Bank Park, the sloppy Phillies channeled the Bad News Bears during a five-run St. Louis first and never recovered (Inquirer; Daily News). Despite back-to-back taters from Jim Thome and Pat Burrell, the Phils' offense failed to deliver big hits when they were needed most. For the Cardinals, Scott Rolen continued his rampage through the National League and extended his domination over Philadelphia pitching, and Tony LaRussa expertly micromanaged his reliving corps to get the matchups he wanted. Meanwhile, pinch-hitter Jason Michaels and manager Larry Bowa got tossed for arguing with the umpires. Yuck. The only saving grace of seeing it live was the chance to sip a wonderful Yards Philly Pale Ale and chomp on a delicious slice of Peace a Pizza. I'd have traded that for a lukewarm dog, a flat cup of Bud, and a win.

With a tough road trip beginning tonight in Phoenix, the Phils find themselves at something of a crossroads. They're still in the thick of the division race, but mostly because the East leaders, Florida and Atlanta, are playing at almost as mediocre a level as the Phillies. PhilliesBlog speaks for a lot of us when he confesses to "frustration and a bit of anger" over the season's first five weeks, while the Inquirer's Stephen A. Smith saves a typically muddled piece with his hard-to-dispute conclusion: "Especially here, in Philadelphia, where patience is not a virtue, but a burden for those who replaced hope with expectations a few months ago. Because when the Phils moved into their posh new habitat, they vowed it was OK for us to have those expectations, too."

Is it Bowa's fault? I'm not sure, but in the wake of his team taking two of three from the Phillies, Redbird Nation offers this little gem: "Leo Durocher + Bobby Valentine - Casey Stengel = Larry Bowa."


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