Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
8/11/2004
 
Squandered Opportunity
It was easy for phans to blame Monday night's loss to the Rockies as a blown game by the bullpen, when in reality, it was poor clutch hitting that really did the team in. In Tuesday night's loss to the Rockies, clutch hitting somehow managed to shine, both in the 8th inning to take the lead 3-2, and in the 9th to almost (but not quite) recapture the lead, but coming up short, 4-2 with men on first and second. This time, it was the bullpen, Tim Worrell specifically, who blew his second consecutive save opportunity and gave up a run in his third consecutive appearance.

If you are one of those people that views a glass as one-third full (even optimists must concede that half full would be stretching it) then there are a few things you can hang your hat on from tonight's game. One is Vicente Padilla's start. Though he only had enough gas to go 5 innings, he gave up only one run on 3 hits, walking none and striking out five. Another would be that Jason Michaels homered, his 4th, to tie the game at 2-2 in the eighth inning. And if you are looking even further for the bright side, Chase Utley played some good defense at second base, throwing out Todd Helton at third base on a ground ball hit to the right side. Utley also made a nice block of the second sack earlier in the game as Aaron Miles failed in his attempt to steal.

While there was no change in the NL East or Wild Card standings as the Braves and Cubs lost as well, Tuesday night can be viewed as a squandered opportunity to gain ground. The Braves have won 31 of their last 41 and the Cubs have strengthened their lineup with the shortstop formerly known as Nomah and have finally gotten their vaunted pitching staff healthy. There won't be many more opportunities like Tuesday night.



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