The Phillies – Giants 4-game series began on Thursday night with Cliff Lee pitching a complete game shut-out for a 3-0 Phillies victory. Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr. hit back to back homers in the second inning, providing most of the offense.
On Friday night with the Giants losing 8-2 in the sixth inning, things got a lot more dramatic. Upset with the spanking they were taking, a few Giants players let their emotions get the better of them.
With two men on base, relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez purposely nailed Shane Victorino in the back with a fastball. Seeing the obvious intent, the home plate ump signaled a warning to Ramirez. Both Ramirez and Victorino started aggressively towards each other and the benches cleared.
But what may have been a few harsh words exchanged heatedly turned into a dangerous situation when the Giants catcher, Eli Whiteside, decided this was a WWF event instead of a baseball game.
Placido Polanco ran over to try to stop Victorino from letting things get out of hand and Whiteside literally dove at Polanco and tackled him by the legs. And this happened not at the spur of the moment, but after Whiteside had bounced up and down multiple times like a boxer in anticipation of the body slam. The pre-meditated attack was way out of line and once that happened, it became a full-out brawl.
All three players, Ramirez, Whiteside and Victorino were ejected from the game. Rivalry between teams is a natural occurrence, especially between teams who are closely matched. But throwing at a player simply because you are losing the game is bad sportsmanship and childish. The Phillies did nothing to warrant the attack, no showboating, no mincing of words. So Ramirez threw at Victorino just because he was a sore loser. Sad.
Victorino was entitled to verbally express his anger at the pitcher and did nothing wrong there. However, his lack of self-control afterwards is likely going to end up in a suspension, fine or both. Then again, if I saw my teammate get tackled like that, I would probably have done the same.
However, I do hope the league takes tougher action against Ramirez and Whiteside; Ramirez started the problem and Whiteside aggravated it. The rest of the players on both sides were just understandably backing up their teammates, so this should not be a reflection on anyone else.
Revenge should be taken in the form of baseball actions, which is exactly what the Phillies did. Vance Worley pitched very well through seven innings, allowing only two runs. And the offense backed him up with a lot of offense.
Home runs from Victorino, Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr. tacked on four runs for the Phillies. All three players had a multi-hit game, along with Polanco and Jimmy Rollins knocked in two runs.
Mayberry has been amazing with three home runs and five RBI in his last four games. He is making it nearly impossible for the Phillies to send him back to Triple-A after Roy Oswalt comes off the DL.
So the Phillies have taken the first two games of this 4-game series, making a huge statement to the Giants. They cannot lose the series and you can also be sure they will be fired up for the next two after Friday’s events.
Game 3 starts at 4:10pm; Cole Hamels will pitch.
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Photo: Comcast SportsNet