It really was a sunny October day in Philadelphia for most of Thursday, but by the end, it was threatening with a chance of brief reign.
The Phillies lost the game 5-4 to the Rockies,they lost homefield advantage in the best-of-five National League division series, which is tied at 1, and they lost any semblance of a smooth run to defending the World Series title they claimed against the Rays.
A summation of the state of affairs: Manager Charlie Manuel used four of his potential starters in Game 2 - Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ in relief of Cole Hamels, then Cliff Lee as a ninth-inning pinch-runner. That made it unclear who will be on the mound when the series resumes Saturday in Denver for Game 3 and clear how little - if any - confidence Manuel has in his bullpen.
"I was making moves out there (Thursday). If I could have picked some other things to do, I'd have probably did 'em," Manuel said.
When it was over, the Phillies had one starter, Hamels, at a hospital with his wife for the birth of the couple's first child. They had another, Happ, hobbling after being struck by a line drive that forced him from the game and a third, Blanton, insisting he could start despite throwing 19 pitches in relief.
And they have the possibility they'll have to turn to a fourth, nearly 38-year-old Pedro Martinez, to start what could be the biggest game of their season, with temperatures forecast to be in the 20s with a chance of snow. "I'll do whatever possible," Martinez said.
The Phillies were down 4-0 early as Hamels - the MVP of last year's league championship series and World Series - pitched like he had something else on his mind, though he wasn't told until after he was lifted for a pinch-hitter that his wife - Heidi Strobel, of TV's Survivor and Playboy fame - had gone into labor. He gave up a run in the first, a two-run homer to catcher Yorvit Torrealbaand a run in the fifth.
"(Hamels' wife) could have had something to do with it; I don't know," Manuel said. "I know he was concerned about his wife and probably his child, too."
Manuel turned first to Blanton, who since his rookie year had made a total of two relief appearances in 167 regular-season and postseason games. The Phillies closed to within 4-3 in the sixth, and when Blanton put two on to start the seventh (compounding the problem by throwing to the wrong base on a bunt), Manuel went to Happ, who lasted one batter, struck below the left knee by Seth Smith's drive.
That led to the moment that may have summed up the absurdity of the day: Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee looking to the bullpen, where two lefties were up, and trying to spell out - as if he were performing Y-M-C-A - they wanted Scott Eyre rather than Antonio Bastardo.
"We got the 'E,'" struggling closer Brad Lidge said, "so that's what we made out of it."
With the bases loaded, Eyre did well to allow only one run, but it made the difference. The Phillies - who'd won eight straight home postseason games - got one more, on Jayson Werth's homer, but stranded Lee, Wednesday's complete-game winner, at second in the ninth.
Manuel used seven pitchers total and all but emptied his bench, leaving his players unable to keep track of his maneuvering. "Nooooo," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "I stopped that a couple years ago. ... He's just doing everything he can to win the game."
The result was a bit stunning. "Now we have to go to Colorado," Ryan Howard said, "and try to right the ship."