I present to you a GIF:
If, because of the quality, you can’t tell what Paul Maholm is saying, he was pretty clearly saying “just throw the effin’ ball over there” to himself after his fifth inning throwing error went over the head of Adrian Gonzalez and allowed the fifth Philadelphia run to score, but he really could have been talking about any of the 107 pitches he threw tonight in a 7-0 loss to the Phillies. Maholm got into trouble straight away, walking Tony Gwynn — yes, old friend Tony Gwynn, the one who couldn’t get out of Triple-A Albuquerque last year — to start the game, then letting Jimmy Rollins single. After Chase Utley flew out, Carlos Ruiz doubled in both of the runners. To Maholm’s credit, he managed to get through the next three innings unscathed.
Less to his credit, the fifth inning! Maholm actually did get the first two, but then walked Ruiz and allowed Ryan Howard to take him deep to center. Maholm only struck out two — one was Cliff Lee — and somehow unbelievably, now has six strikeouts and eight walks in 17.2 innings. That feels unsustainable, by which I mean, either he’ll fix it or he’ll be unemployed. Either way, it will not be sustained over the full season. And with Clayton Kershaw on track to start a minor league rehab game on Friday, we may only have one or two more Maholm starts to look forward to.
However! Brandon League came on to pitch two scoreless innings, and I know how you all feel about praising League, but… this was his third straight scoreless outing. On April 12, he was atrocious against the Diamondbacks, giving up three runs and four baserunners in just 0.2 of an inning. In six other games? He’s thrown 9.1 innings, allowed just one earned run, given up seven hits, and put up a 7/2 K/BB. I’m not saying he’s “fixed” or anything like that; I am saying that he looks better and might not be the huge problem we all think of him as. (And also that as usual, ERA for relievers in short samples is terribly misleading.)
Oh, and none of this mattered tonight because Lee is a beautiful artist genius who shut down the Dodgers over eight innings on just four hits, all singles, walking none, whiffing 10, and retiring 244 in a row, probably. (20, really, until Tim Federowicz singled in the eighth.) It took 113 pitches. He high-fived kids before he hit. It’s the kind of thing where you can’t even be angry or upset. You just stand in awe of the masterpiece in front of you.
But how do you feel about all of this, Yasiel Puig?
But hey! At least we got to see Scott Van Slyke in center field for two innings. The Phillies didn’t hit him a single ball. I may never get over it.
In happier news: the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Padres all lost. Bronson Arroyo gave up a double and a homer to his pitching counterpart Travis Wood. Arizona is now 5-17. You probably should never say a season is over, but if you figure 90 wins as a minimum to win the division, they merely need to go 85-60 over the rest of the year. Gooood luck with that.