Before the Phillies – Cubs game today, Placido Polanco returned from the DL. Juan Castro, who has not contributed too much lately, was released to make room. It is good to have Polly back! But instead of giving the team a spark, they kept playing like they were in a coma.
By the 9th inning, down 0-1, it looked like the sleeping Phils were about to lose their 3rd straight to the Cubs. But then a miracle occurred; the Cubs bullpen took pity on them and walked two batters. Then with two outs, Polly came through with a base hit and Brian Schneider tried to score. He should have been out by a mile, but the very kind Cubbies took pity again; an off-line throw home kept Schneider safe.
However, the Cubs bullpen was not fully satisfied with their charity. Pitcher Carlos Marmol tossed a wild pitch and Ross Gload scored. Then Marmol intentionally walked Ryan Howard and not-so-intentionally walked Jayson Werth to score another run for the Phillies.
Pitcher James Russell wanted in on this charitable action! So he gave up a single to Raul Ibanez, which scored the 4th run of the inning. Ok, maybe Ibanez had a little to do with the hit…
Actually, Ibanez had two hits in the game, as did Werth and Shane Victorino. But they left many, many men on base through 8 innings and could not score a run. Of course, the Phillies will take a win anyway they can get it, even if it is handed to them on a silver platter.
So they went on to win by a score of 4-1. However, something still seems to be very wrong with the Phillies. Is it a lack of enthusiasm? Or perhaps it is just another slump? No, I think not. Based on the evidence, I am going to have to say it must be brain damage. Take a look at the facts from today’s game:
– Victorino got thrown out at second base…twice. Once, he was stealing and once he was trying to stretch a single into a double. Conclusion: brain damage.
– Wilson Valdez forgot to cover first base on a Cubs bunt and allowed the runner to get safely to first while a run scored. And later in the game, Valdez dropped a pop-up. Conclusion: brain damage.
– Cole Hamels pitched an AMAZING game, allowing only 1 run in 7 innings. Yet, the offense did NOTHING to help him out. He got a no decision. Conclusion: brain damage.
– The Phillies lost the first two games of this series to a team that sucks. Sorry Cubs fans, no disrespect, but this team is not good and is now 10 games under .500. Conclusion: You guessed it, brain damage.
So the question now remains, will this 9th inning comeback today be the cure for their brain damage? They swept the Reds going into the All-Star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming in extra innings. They returned from the break and dropped two to the Cubs. So the Reds series did not have a huge impact. Will today’s game propel them forward? We shall see…
Roy Halladay will be the next Phillies pitcher to pray for some runs. Game time tomorrow is 8:05pm.
Howard & Pinella photos by Jenn Zambri Photography