The Phillies ended the season today with a series sweep of the Nationals, winning today’s game by a score of 8-3. This game very much resembled a Spring Training game, as all of the rookies and back-ups got the start. It was a lot of fun as the whole team, having already clinched the Division, was very relaxed and they were all having a good time. Most fans even stuck around after the game to dance, catch prizes from the Phanatic and the ball girls and just revel in the glory of a great season and the Phils’ 2nd consecutive NL East Title. Signed balls, tee shirts and I don’t know what else, flew through the air as the fireworks erupted above. The only question that still lingered was, will it be the Brewers or the Dodgers?
That question was answered shortly after the game as the Brewers won and the Mets, for the second straight year, lost and will again not see the post-season. Another sad collapse for Mets fans; a bright spot for Phillies fans as I think we can all agree that the Brewers will be the better match-up in the playoffs. And so it is; the Phillies will face the Brewers on Wednesday in Philly – Time TBD.
As for today, there were a lot of great moments for the youngsters and back-ups playing; Lou Marson went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, including hitting his very first Major League home run. What a night for his first start in the Bigs! Right after Marson hit his homer, on the very next pitch, pinch hitter Matt Stairs followed with one of his own! Nice. And the fun continues…So Taguchi looked like the player we all assumed he was at the beginning of the season; he went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and was great on defense as well. The other “guchi,” Tadahito Iguchi, and Eric Bruntlett each had 2 hits in the game. Jayson Werth pinch hit in the 4th, whacked a single and then followed it up with his 20th steal of the year as he swiped 2nd base. That put him in the 20-20 club with more than 20 homers (24) and 20 stolen bases. Impressive for a guy who was not a starter at the beginning of the year. And then for more pinch hit fun, in the 6th inning Ryan Howard hit a slap-bunt up the 3rd base line to beat the shift and eventually wound up scoring in that inning. If he can do this more often, he may see the Howard defensive shift slowly disappear… And as a side note, Howard managed with that hit to raise his batting average over the .250 mark for the year (.251, to be exact).
Here are some photos from the game…first one is from the pre-game. Many of the Phillies regular starters came out to thank the fans and a few of them spoke. Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge were both very eloquent in their speeches. Then, the microphone was passed to Chase Ultey who proceeded to give the world’s fastest “Thank You” ever. All he said was, “You guys have been unbelievable,” and then immediately began to walk off, which prompted this reaction from his teammates:
Funny stuff! The crowd laughed right along with them. Utley, as we know, is a bit speech-shy.
Next photos – Top row: Phanatic & the Mystery Baby Phanatic (from the crowd!) try to hex to opposing pitcher; Eric Bruntlett makes a great play. Bottom row: Bruntlett and Taguchi round the bases; Chris Coste, in a rare appearance at first base, scoops up a dribbler and tags out the runner.
A great end to a great season! Stay tuned for post-game info and coverage!
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