September baseball can be really entertaining, but it can also drive a fan to drink. Nerves fray as teams battle for a playoff spot; add a few key injuries to the tension and you may find yourself having to meditate or do some yoga in order to remain calm. The Phillies seem fairly calm after a 9-4 win in Atlanta last night, despite injuries to pitcher JA Happ, catcher Carlos Ruiz and slugger Ryan Howard. Although, none of the injuries seem serious, so take a deep breath and exhale…
JA Happ appeared to grimace as he stepped towards first base in the 3 inning but insisted he felt fine. Happ gave up a solo home run to the next batter and was then lifted from the game at the end of the inning for “precautionary reasons.” Happ had missed the two previous starts with an oblique strain so the Phillies are not taking any chances that he may aggravate the injury.
Carlos Ruiz sprained his right wrist after blocking home plate as the Braves’ Matt Diaz tried to score in the 2nd inning. The throw by Raul Ibanez was right on target and Ruiz tagged Diaz out at home. But in the process, he hurt his wrist and eventually left the game with Paul Bako taking his place. The injury appears to be mild and the Phillies are hopeful that he will only miss a game or two.
Next victim: Ryan Howard. Howard destroyed pitched Tim Hudson with 2 home runs for 3 RBI in the game. But later, relief pitcher Boone Logan nailed Howard in the forearm with a fastball. Howard continued on to first base, yelping in pain on his way up the baseline. He appears to be alright and hopefully, will not miss any time.
Shane Victorino also missed the game yesterday with a gastrointestinal illness. Translation?
He has the poops. Poor Shane! It is expected that he will play tonight. But last night, Ben Francisco took his spot in center. The Ben Francisco-treat went 3 for 5 at the plate with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored, including a solo homer. He also got caught stealing 3rd base for the first out of the 6th inning, but he made up for it with hitting, so all is forgiven :O)
Jimmy Rollins had 3 RBI in the game and Jayson Werth continues his hot streak with some clutch hitting; Werth went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI on a bases loaded, 2 out single in the 8th. Also clutch in the game was Kyle Kendrick who took over for the injured Happ and pitched 4 scoreless innings.
So game 1 of this HUGE series is in the books! If the Phillies can win at least 2 of 3 in this series, they will likely kill any hope the Braves may have had at a playoff run. The still undefeated Pedro Martinez will take the mound tonight at 7:00pm.
PS: The Magic Number is now 8!
Francisco / San Fran photos by Jenn
Meditation photo: hubpages.com