For the second straight night, Jorge Cantu of the Florida Marlins took advantage of Phillies pitching. Last night, in an otherwise superb outing by Cole Hamels, Cantu got the only 2 runs of the game for the Fish with 2 solo homers until the 9th inning, when Dan Uggla won it with a walk-off grand slam off Tom Gordon. Cole went 8 full innings with 13 strikeouts, walking only 1 batter, but had no offense in the game to back up his great performance.
The Phillies had their only chance to pull out the win in the 9th inning when Marlins closer Kevin Gregg began to lose his cool. After Eric Bruntlett was able to steal third and subsequently, he scored the tying run when Utley grounded into a force out, Gregg started to become unglued with the thought of blowing the save opportunity. The very next pitch, he nails Pat Burrell in the arm to load the bases with two outs. Now, I have said this many, many times over. These are the situations when good hitters know it is time to take advantage of a pitcher. Why? Because he is a time bomb ready to blow. He could uncork a wild pitch at any moment or groove one right down the middle for you. And Gregg’s body language on the mound spoke EXACTLY to that point. His head was whipping back and forth, he was sweating like crazy, arms flailing about…he was a man on the edge. So, the fact that Jayson Werth chose to bunt here really disappoints me. I totally understand the element of surprise; I understand he saw Wes Helms playing way back at third. You can argue both sides. But Jayson is a damn good hitter and just the day before, got a hit off of this very SAME pitcher! He must have known that and I am sure Gregg knew that! One more reason for Gregg to be extra nervous pitching to him in this situation. But instead, he bunts it right to Gregg, who throws him right out and is let off the hook.
Had the Phillies gotten one more run out of that inning, either with a hit, a walk or run scored on a wild pitch, I believe they win the game. Because then Brad Lidge comes in and shuts it down. Instead, we have Tom Gordon who winds up having an awful night. But you can’t blame him. The bullpen can’t bail out this team every time. And the offense can’t expect not to play and then throw it on the shoulders of the pitchers. So, Dan Uggla comes out looking like a hero, when really all he did on that last pitch was take batting practice. At that point, Gordon had two choices…risk walking the run home, or give him something to hit and pray he missed it. Well, I do not discount Uggla …he is a great hitter and he did not miss it. So, Mr. Uggla has earned my Photo of the Day…this one is from April of last year at CBP and, surprise, surprise…J-Roll Smurf and his handy voodoo bat have decided to join us for the last game of the series J No more grand slams for Mr. Uggla! Let’s see if some Smurfy magic can salvage one game of this yucky series…Go Phillies!