It is officially a streak – the Phillies have won 4 games in a row and all 4 came during their final at-bat. In the 3-game sweep of the Brewers, every game also ended in the exact same score, 7-6.
Tuesday’s improbable win included a 6-run rally in the 8th inning which was started by a 2-run homer from 2nd back-up catcher, Erik Kratz. To that point, Kratz had exactly 3 major league hits and all 3 were home runs.
Then today, Kratz doubled his major league hit total even while abandoning the long ball. He recorded 3 hits including an RBI and a double in extra innings to once again set the Phillies up for a late-game win. Chase Utley also had 3 hits today plus 3 RBI. Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit today and also in Sunday’s walk-off win.
As for the pitching, Cliff Lee was not great on Tuesday, giving up 6 runs. But the Phillies offense got all 6 back for him in that 8th inning. Then today Vance Worley had an ok outing, allowing 3 runs in 5.1 innings. Kyle Kendrick kept him from further damage with 1.2 scoreless innings.
The bullpen has, with one exception, found it’s groove in these last 4 games. Only Antonio Bastardo faltered with a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun today that almost cost them the game. But the late-inning magic bailed him out, even despite another Ty Wigginton error at third base.
But the HUGE bang for the Phillies came earlier today when the Phillies announced they finally signed ace pitcher Cole Hamels to a long-term deal. A collective sigh of relief was heard around the city.
Hamels got 6 years for $144 million, which is the second biggest contract ever behind only CC Sabathia of the Yankees who got $161 for 7 years back in 2008. It is the largest contract ever for a Phillie.
It appears then that the Phillies have not given up just yet. The Hamels signing should be a big relief for guys like Lee, Rollins and Roy Halladay who chose to come to or stay in Philly with the promise from the front office that they would continue to try to win in the long-term. And these last 4 wins which happened in the most unlikely ways should also light a fire under the entire team.
The Phillies are off tomorrow for the annual Phestival and they will then fly to Atlanta for 3 games with the Braves. Those 3 games will be very telling as to whether this team can stage an improbable comeback and make a run at a Wild Card spot.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography