PHILADELPHIA -- This should have been the day we were talking about Aroldis Chapman.
Or the day we were talking about how shocking it was to see Chase Utley make two errors in the same inning.
This should have been the day the story changed. Or at least the day we had something new to talk about.
And yet we don't.
So if you missed the Phillies' 7-4 Game 2 win over the Reds on Friday night, we're here instead to tell you that you didn't miss much. Well, you did, but what you missed fit into all the same old storylines we've come to hate.
All we've got here is yet another one-sided first-round series, yet another Phillies comeback, yet another losing team looking like it doesn't belong.
Oh, and yet another game where the umpires became part of the story.
None of this can be good for baseball, can it?
Another one-sided series, which Cole Hamels could well wrap up in Game 3 on Sunday night? No, that's not good for baseball.
Another playoff team looking like it doesn't belong, a Reds team that won 91 games this year but crumbled into a four-error, three-hit-by-pitch (with an asterisk) misery Friday, after getting no-hit on Wednesday? No, that's not good.
|More on Reds at Phillies|
Another game that may well have turned -- or partially turned -- on questionable or obviously missed calls by umpires? No, not good at all.
Chase Utley almost certainly wasn't hit by that 102 mph Chapman fastball that started the Phillies' three-run third inning ("I felt like I thought it hit me," Utley said in one of the greatest answers ever). Utley very likely should have been called out at second base later in the inning. Utley may have even missed third base, although if he did, it was a Reds mistake for not appealing and not an umpire mistake for missing it (and third baseman Scott Rolen said he clearly saw Utley touch the corner of the bag).
If there was anything good about all of this, it was that the Reds were very careful not to blame the umpires for their loss, or for their backs-against-the-wall predicament, or even for the unprecedented double of getting no-hit in their first postseason game and committing four errors in their second.
"We beat ourselves," Brandon Phillips said. "We just beat ourselves."
He's right, because well before the fateful seventh inning, well before the umpires had anything at all to do with this game, the Reds had already turned 4-0 into 4-3. They'd already gone from an impressive start to a shaky middle, and even if the Phillies hadn't received any more help, you could sure see them coming back to win.
It is, after all, what they do.
Since this postseason run began two Octobers ago, the Phillies have 22 wins. Exactly half of those have come in games where they first fell behind.
Put it another way, and these last three postseasons, the Phillies have trailed in 20 games. They've won 11 of those, which means that even when they're behind, more than half the time they're going to come back to win.
|Jay Bruce tries to hide after his mistake proves too costly for the Reds to overcome. (AP)|
"I've seen it. We may be down 4-0, but never count us out."
Remember, though, the path from 4-0 to 4-3 was almost entirely the Reds' fault, because of a two-run fifth that included back-to-back errors, and then a hitless sixth inning in which three Reds pitchers combined for two hit batters (both totally legitimate) and two walks, the second one with the bases loaded.
For the Reds, a one-run lead with three innings left couldn't have felt that comfortable. But they did have Chapman, the Cuban rookie who throws 105 mph.
The game-changer, they thought.
"With Chapman vs. their lefties, I thought it was game over," Phillips said.
Then came the (probably phantom) hit by pitch.
"Do I think it hit him? No I don't," Phillips said. "If it had hit him, he'd have been on the ground, because if it hit me, I'd have been on the ground."
Then came the play at second, which could have been the second out. TBS never provided a great replay, but on the one they showed, Utley appeared to be going into a takeout slide, and with his legs back it appeared that the throw beat him.
That all set up the Jimmy Rollins fly ball that Jay Bruce lost in the lights, the one where Phillips dropped Bruce's throw back to the infield, the one where the Phillies scored the two runs that gave them the lead.
The one that convinced you this series is over, before the Reds even get a game at home.
"I believe in us," Phillips said, unconvincingly. "I believe we can do this."
The rest of us can hardly believe what they just did.
Who knew that getting no-hit would be the less embarrassing of their two losses? Who knew that the game where Phillips was three-quarters of the way to a cycle by the fifth inning would be the one they were much less likely to want to replay?
Who knew that the first Aroldis Chapman sighting of the postseason would turn out like this?
Well, we all should have known.
We should have known because this is how baseball is turning out this October, because this is how these first-round series now seem to turn out every October.
This wasn't good for the Reds.
It wasn't good for baseball, either.