2009: A Werth Odyssey
Jayson Werth had quite an interesting game tonight, and not all in a good way. The odyssey in the outfield began with a few leaping and diving catches in right field which Werth made look easy. But then in the 4th inning, Werth lost his mind a bit at the plate. After Matt Garza of the Rays walked the bases loaded with NO outs, Werth stepped in and swung at the first pitch. He hit into a 5-2-3 double play which left the Phillies scoreless in the inning.
When the opposing pitcher walks 3 batters in a row and begins to unravel, why do you swing at the first pitch? That should not happen. Garza’s jugular was exposed; he was shaking in his boots. That is the time to go in for the kill. And in this instance, the kill should have been to take at least one strike to put pressure on the pitcher. Instead, Werth made everyone wonder what planet he thought he was playing on by hitting a short ground ball to 3rd on the first pitch. And in one swing of the bat, Werth settled Garza back into his rhythm and gave momentum to the Rays.
But the alien adventure did not end there; in the 6th, Werth missed a ball hit to right field that he probably should have caught. But, in keeping with the weird and wacky theme of the day, Carl Crawford tried to stretch the double into a triple and, due to poor base running, he was tagged out at third by Pedro Feliz.
And still, Werth was not finished. In the 7th, Werth hit a line drive to right field which just barely stayed fair and exited the yard inches beyond the foul pole for a solo homer to bring the Phillies within 1 run. Never a dull moment…
In fact, Joe Blanton was one of the few players who had a relatively “normal” day; he went 7 solid innings, giving up only a 2-run homer to our old pal, Pat Burrell. Aside from that long ball, Blanton was in control all night.
However, the stability would end there. JC Romero came in for the 8th and gave up a single. But then Romero got a good double play ball, giving him 2 outs in the inning. What happens next? He hits a batter and then walks the next one to load the bases. Chan Ho Park had to come into the game to try to get the 3rd out. Park got Burrell to hit a weak ground ball to Jimmy Rollins, but Rollins took his time and underhanded to Chase Utley at 2nd instead of tossing Burrell out at first and the runner was called safe – a run scored instead of ending the inning. Yikes! The next batter hit a pop-up that landed in no man’s land, scoring 2 more runs. Double yikes! Another 2 runs scored on a single after that. Dare I say it?… Triple yikes!
And that pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Phillies who went down to the Rays by a score of 7-1. It was a huge waste of a great pitching performance from Blanton. Mistakes and mental errors turned this odyssey into an alien disaster of epic proportions.
Werth photo by Jenn