After Saturday night’s NL East title celebration, both the Phillies and the fans came out a little sluggish on Sunday against the Cardinals. The crowd was quiet and so were the Phillies bats. After the late night champagne shower, everyone looked a little hung over.
A few bad pitches from Cole Hamels put the Phillies into an early 2-0 hole when Albert Pujols smacked a 2-run homer in the first inning. Hamels seemed to bounce back quickly after that, but the offense did nothing to help him. Then in the sixth inning, Hamels gave up another 2-run homer.
With only eight hits in the game, all of them singles, the Phillies did not have too many opportunities to score. But the few times they did have runners on base, they hit into double plays. Hunter Pence, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload all hit into double plays, ending any possible offensive threat.
Three of the Phillies’ eight hits came off the bat of Chase Utley, which was one positive in the game. Utley has struggled to find his swing again since getting hit in the head with a pitch. That sort of shot would scramble anyone’s brain. But it appears that Utley has found all his marbles and got his timing back at the plate.
Down 4-0, the Cardinals padded their lead in the eighth with a solo shot off pitcher Joe Blanton. It was Blanton’s second appearance since coming off the DL and one he is sure to want to forget.
On the other hand, Justin DeFratus made his major league debut which was almost spoiled by Lance Berkman. DeFratus’ first pitch was destroyed by Berkman, but the ball landed in Shane Victorino’s glove inches from the center field fence. DeFratus managed to escape the inning without allowing a hit.
Slightly more exciting than the actual game was batting practice, where I spotted all of the newest members of the Phillies:
And even more exciting than that was the community mural painting which I participated in. The new Phillies Mural will be eight stories high, facing the Schuylkill River. It should be done by next summer. In the meantime, the Phillies are allowing fans to help paint with large chunks of the mural drawn out in pencil like a paint-by-number. Here I am painting part of the Phanatic:
Game 4 with the Cardinals starts tonight at 7:05pm. And here is the full Photo Album from the game, including pre-game ceremonies.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography