I'm not sure whether it was the shadow of the Cliff Lee story, or whether it was the weariness of West Coast travel, or whether last night's 7-2 Phillies loss was exactly as it seemed: unexciting. A normally sure-handed team committed two key errors, and the Phillies suffered a rare second straight off-night. It was their first back-to-back losses since July 1-2 in Atlanta.
The one piece of action that did occur - other than Pablo Sandoval's personal quest to show Charlie Manuel that he was wrong for leavin ghim out of the All-Star game - was a sixth-inning at-bat between Chase Utley and Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez's first pitch of the inning sailed screamed directly at the head of Utley, who ducked out of the way. Although it didn't seem like a situation in which Sanchez would be throwing intentionally -- Manuel said he thought Sanchez deserved the benefit of the doubt -- Utley reacted the way many of us would if another grown man unleashed a deadly object at our noggin. He took a step toward the mound and glared menacingly -- although, having been around Utley, that might have been his version of smiling -- before returning to the batters box. Later, he stepped out of the box as Sanchez was getting set to start his wind-up.
"I wasn't ready and he started his wind-up," Utley said, "so I just wanted to make sure I was ready to hit."
Utley might have cracked a mischievous half grin when offering that assessment. But, again, it is Utley, so it is difficult to tell.
"The adrenaline is always flowing," Utley said. "The last thing you want to do is let that affect your at-bat."
Utley got the last laugh, connecting on a solo home run to end the at-bat. Phillies reliever Tyler Walker later hit Ryan Garko with a pitch, prompting a warning to both benches.
Otherwise, it was a fairly ho-hum game, at least from the Phillies perspective.
In a side note: Carlos Carrasco makes his Triple A debut tonight for Columbus at Lehigh Valley. He will be opposed by Pedro Martinez, perhaps making his final rehab start before being ready for a return to the big leagues.