The Wild Card chase is back on for the Phillies who have won 6 in a row. They now sit only 4 games out of a potential playoff spot. The other Chase, that being Chase Utley, is starting to look like the guy we all remember. Despite a costly error in the game against the Marlins, Utley went 3-for-3 last night with 2 walks and an RBI. He reached base in all 5 of his at-bats.
Juan Pierre also continues to produce; he also had 3 hits in the game, plus an RBI. And Jimmy Rollins took advantage of a huge error by the Marlins catcher who dropped what appeared to be Jimmy’s 5,000th or so pop-up this year. Ok, maybe I exaggerate…but J-Roll followed the dropped pop-up with a 2-run homer on the next pitch. Rollins ended the night with 3 RBI on 2 hits.
But as the runs continued to pour in, Phillies pitchers continued to give them right back. Roy Halladay did not look great again, allowing 5 runs in 6 ½ innings while walking 3 batters. Just when it looks like Halladay is doing well again, he has a game like this.
But the bullpen was not much better. Manager Charlie Manuel had to use 4 pitchers to get though the 7th inning as it seemed no one wanted to get the final out. Halladay and the pen combined to allow 4 runs that inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, things got progressively weirder. After Rollins collected his 3rd RBI of the night, the Marlins manager apparently suffered a momentary lapse of reason. Ozzie Guillen, already considered one of the strangest men in baseball, made yet another move to solidify his crazy-man reputation. He ordered an intentional walk of Kevin Frandsen to pitch to Utley instead.
To break it down, Guillen decided he wanted to pitch to a guy who already had 3 hits in the game instead of a guy with a stress fracture in his left leg. Forget the left-handed, right-handed theory; a broken leg VS. 3-for-3…and broken leg won. Wow. Utley wound up walking as well and no damage was done, but that was a seriously weird chain of events.
The 9-7 put the Phillies back at the .500 mark for the season so far. That is a small miracle considering how bad most of the season has gone. Could a large miracle be in the works? It is a long-shot, but if the Phillies keep winning, who knows?
Game 3 with the Marlins starts early today at 4:05pm. Let’s go for the sweep!
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography