Under The Big Top
After the oddities involved in yesterday’s Phillies-Mets match-up, including a game-ending unassisted triple play, the circus act continued into the beginning of today’s game. Yesterday, the Phillies hit two 3-run homers in the first inning; today, they only managed one 3-run homer in the first inning, but still an amazing feat. Ryan Howard provided the power after Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch and Chase Utley walked. Victorino also stole second and then wound up on third base after a throwing error that same inning, leaving the Mets looking like a pack of clowns.
But the spectacle got even weirder in the bottom half of the 1st; Chase Utley must have taken up juggling in his spare time, because that is exactly what he did with a routine pop-up from the first hitter for the Mets, Angel Pagan. Utley dropped the ball as Pagan sped around the bases and then proceeded to join the Mets clown troop by throwing the ball away into left field. The double error allowed Pagan to round the bases and score. Pagan is the same Met who wound up with an inside-the-park homer in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game after Victorino became confused over the Citi Field ground rules and did not field a ball that got stuck under the outfield wall padding.
Next, Jayson Werth put on his clown suit as he over ran a ball to right field, stumbled around trying to catch it on a hop and looked absolutely ridiculous doing it. Gary Sheffield wound up with a triple and eventually scored. And this was only the 1st inning.
Oh yes, the circus has indeed come to town. But Sheffield, despite his triple, was next in line to receive his badge of silliness as in the 2nd inning, he too dropped a routine pop-up which came off the bat of Phillies catcher, Paul Bako.
But after the 2nd inning, things began to calm down and Cliff Lee was amazing, yet again. Ignoring the shoddy defense at the start of the game, he buckled down and pitch 7 solid innings, allowing 6 hits and NO earned runs. Both Mets runs were unearned due to the Utley errors. Lee is now 5-0 as a Phillie and has yet to even walk a batter! Lee is the anti-clown; just amazing.
Howard hit another homer (say that 5 times fast) in the 3rd inning and the 2-run shot plus the 3-run shot earlier was all the offense Lee needed to notch the win. But just for fun, Raul Ibanez knocked in one more in the 9th inning on a double to left that scored Utley.
Chan Ho Park and Brad Lidge took the 8th and 9th inning respectively and shut down the Mets. Lidge looked good which is excellent news, especially considering he went into a non-save situation and still got the job done cleanly.
Player of the Week
Jayson Werth has been on fire! Whatever has been lit under his backside recently has earned him Player of the Week honors for the National League. Werth led the majors with 5 home runs and 29 total bases plus he hit .440 for the week. Today, he did not have a hit in the game, but did walk three times. Congrats to Jayson!
Eric “I am only hitting .158” Bruntlett has been asked to send his jersey to the Hall of Fame. Yesterday, Bruntlett turned an unassisted, game-ending triple play after a horrible start to the inning where he committed 1 official error and bobbled another ball that was eventually scored a hit. But redemption is sweet as Bruntlett not only saved the game, but he made history in the process.
This will actually be the 2nd item for Bruntlett in the Hall; last year, he donated his “Elmer Fudd” cold-weather, ear-flap cap from the World Series.
The Phillies are on their way to Pittsburgh to begin a 3-game series with the Pirates tomorrow. Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies; game time is 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn