B.J. Rosenberg retreated early Tuesday morning to his South Jersey residence, turned on the TV, and flipped to A&E. The channel showed two hours of Duck Dynasty repeats.
"I stayed away from all the sports networks," the Phillies pitcher said. This was catharsis.
Relievers often preach the value of zero short-term memory. That was essential Tuesday for Rosenberg, who, after making two sterling appearances in two days, hurled one of the worst relief outings in baseball history.
He faced three batters. All three smashed home runs, and Ryne Sandberg promptly removed his righthander in the seventh inning of a 9-6 Phillies loss to Atlanta. Rosenberg is believed to be the first reliever ever to achieve that ignominy.
"It's just something you have to shrug off," Rosenberg said. "You can't take it into the next outing. What can you really say about it?"
Context, of course, is important. Rosenberg pitched late in tie games Saturday and Sunday - both Phillies victories - and displayed dominance. He threw two flawless innings with three strikeouts. Fifteen of his 21 pitches were for strikes.
On Monday, he told Sandberg he could pitch on a third consecutive day if needed, but that was something the 28-year-old did just once in his career.
"He said he felt fine," Sandberg said, and when the manager needed to keep the game close, he opted for Rosenberg.
That provided a teaching moment.
"Maybe I was a little bit out of gas," Rosenberg said. "I don't know. You learn from it. You make bad pitches, and you see what happens. One thing you can take from it is when maybe you don't feel like you have your best stuff, maybe you think location over velocity. You really concentrate on keeping the ball down. . . . You have to learn how to pitch when you're not feeling the best."
The Phillies have played 13 games - not significant-enough time to deem any one shortcoming a "problem." The bullpen permitted three runs in 122/3 innings over the weekend to secure a series sweep of Miami. The relief corps floundered Monday without its usual eighth- or ninth-inning pitchers, Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon, who needed the night off.
The Phillies will welcome Mike Adams as another righthanded bullpen option Wednesday. With better starting pitching, Sandberg hopes to avoid situations like the one Rosenberg faced Tuesday. The manager believes heavy usage has affected some of his relievers.
Rosenberg evaded any replays of his historic night. He enjoyed a night without work Tuesday because of the rainout. The previous night unfolded in a most disappointing manner, but Rosenberg took pride in his manager's trust.
"You have to have a short memory," Rosenberg said. "That's about as bad as it gets, you know."
Staying in turn
Minutes after the Phillies postponed Tuesday's game, the drenching rains ceased for a brief moment. It was enough time for Cliff Lee, who donned a skull cap with his T-shirt and sweat pants, to play catch. The weather prevented anything more.
Instead, Lee will start Wednesday against Atlanta. The Phillies will stay in rotation. That means A.J. Burnett, who received a cortisone shot Monday to dull the pain of a hernia, will pitch Thursday afternoon's series finale. Jonathan Pettibone, Kyle Kendrick, and Roberto Hernandez will pitch at Coors Field in Denver this weekend.
The postponed game will not be rescheduled this week. The two teams could play a doubleheader in late June, when the Braves return to Philadelphia for a three-game weekend series.