Lucky Number 13
Well, I have a knot in my stomach the size of a grapefruit and I am beginning to think that baseball may be hazardous to my health. J The Phillies escaped tonight in the 13th inning with a huge comeback win over the Mets; final score 8-7 and the Phillies overtake first place in the NL East. This was a very strange game with some serious creativity coming off the bench. To start with, Jamie Moyer had a rare bad appearance, lasting only 3 innings and giving up 6 earned runs on 9 hits. The bullpen did an amazing job holding the Mets down, although I am sure their arms are all hanging low tonight. They got a serious workout.
It did not look good early on, as the Phillies were down 7-0 by the 4th inning. The Phillies offense wasted many, many scoring opportunities, starting in the very first inning. With 2 men on and no outs, Ryan Howard struck out swinging, Pat Burrell flied out and Shane Victorino went down swinging. Then in the 3rd inning, Jimmy Rollins got on base for the 2nd time tonight and stole 2nd base, but Chase Utley popped out and Pat Burrell struck out looking to end the inning. Just a few examples, but you get the point. They left a lot of runners on base tonight…18 to be exact. Then, a horrible call by the 3rd base umpire in the 3rd inning led to 3 runs for the Mets – With runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, Fernando Tatis hit a ball up the line at 3rd base which, clearly on replay, was a fair ball – the ball hits the runner on third base, Pedro Feliz picks it up and throws out Tatis. So, it should have been a double play, but instead the umpire called it a foul ball. So what does Tatis do with the new life he was given? He hit a 3 run homer. It never should have happened.
And still, with all this weighing against them, they pulled out the win. Let’s take a look at what else they had going against them: Ryan Howard, aside from the home run he hit in the 5th inning, looked horrible at the plate all night. He went 1 for 6 and struck out 2 times. Howard continues to be undisciplined at the plate and constantly has trouble making contact; of course, swinging at bad pitches hasn’t helped that. Pat Burrell also had a nightmare of an evening, going 0 for 7 and striking out 4 times! But Rollins, going 5 for 7 with 3 RBI’s, and Jayson Werth who was 3 for 5, carried the offense most of the night. Eric Bruntlett came in to tie up the game in the 9th inning with a double that scored Werth…it was his first hit since August 15th. He wound up with 2 hits before the game was over. Chris Coste came in for Carlos Ruiz at catcher in the 8th as Ruiz moved to third base for an inning! Talk about getting creative… Well, Coste went 4 for 4 and hit the game winning single in the 13th to score Victorino.
The moves off the bench tonight were amazing; Ruiz at third base? Wow; Great management of the bullpen; And then using Brett Myers the way they did in the 13th, after the Mets intentionally loaded the bases with no outs – Myers was obviously told to look like he was anxious to swing, but not to move a muscle. Hoping for the walk, but willing to take the strikeout just to avoid hitting into the double play so Coste could come up to bat with only 1 out. And it worked! Coste nails the single; game over! An improbable comeback and an entertaining game all around! So, if the Phillies can sweep this short 2 game series, it will solidify their spot in first place. Kyle Kendrick will pitch tomorrow night and the Phils had better hope he’s got some innings in him, because the bullpen is wiped out! Fingers crossed…Go Phillies!
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