The Phillies started the postseason with 2 pitchers named Roy in the first 2 games. In each of those games, the 2 Roy’s were polar opposites in terms of performance and results. Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter in his first ever playoff game. Roy Oswalt on the other hand, with prior playoff experience, did not pitch well at all. But all is well that ends well as the Phillies went on to win anyway.
At the start of the game, Oswalt looked pretty bad. He threw balls right down the middle of the plate and the Reds did not miss them. Oswalt surrendered 3 earned runs and 1 unearned on 5 hits and a walk. Chase Utley made 2 throwing errors in the 2nd inning, which is very odd for Utley, and that cost Oswalt the unearned run.
Between the errors, ineffective pitching and lack of hitting, things looked grim for the Phillies early on. They were not able to scratch out any runs until the bottom of the 5th when 2 Reds errors plus an Utley single scored 2 runs. Utley redeemed himself and, making him feel even better, the Reds equaled his screw-ups. Even better, one of the errors was from ex-Phillie Scott Rolen, which the fans enjoyed a lot. Rolen has been booed mercilessly these past two games. No love lost between him and Philadelphia…
Things got stranger in the 6th; Carlos Ruiz was hit in the knee with a pitch by another ex-Phillie, Arthur Rhodes. Ruiz seemed to be fine and Rhodes was lifted from the game. Pitcher Logan Ondrusek replaced Rhodes and only 3 pitches later, he nailed pinch-hitter Ben Francisco in the head to load the bases. Luckily for Francisco, he moved his head quick enough that the ball hit the brim of the helmet. So although it looked very scary, he was okay. Shane Victorino walked next to score a run.
So while all this was pretty entertaining, the Phillies were still down 4-3 going into the 7th. Utley was hit by a pitch for the 3rd erroneous toss by a Reds pitcher. Things began to go seriously downhill for the Reds when, with 1 out, they brought in their flame throwing rookie, Aroldis Chapman. With 100+ mph balls flying, it was the Reds fielders who got rattled instead of the Phillies batters…
missed a fairly easy fly ball off the bat of Jimmy Rollins and then Brandon Phillips dropped the relay throw, allowing 2 runs to score. Ruiz hit into a fielder’s choice a little later, but it scored another run. Also in this inning, Mike Sweeney made his postseason debut as a pinch hitter and singled to left. Having waited 16 years to reach the playoffs, that hit had to feel amazing for Sweeney. By the way, join us at my “I Want A Hug From Mike Sweeney” Facebook page for more Sweeney fun :O)
So the Reds had 4 errors through 7 innings in this game, which the Phillies then led by a score of 6-4. Ryan Madson erased the Reds in the top of the 8th. In the bottom half, Utley singled and stole a base, still determined to erase the errors from everyone’s minds. Jayson Werth knocked him in to add on an insurance run for a 7-4 lead.
That set up the 9th for Brad Lidge. Despite walking the first batter he faced and making the fans grumble, Lidge buckled down and got the next 3 batter out to put the Phillies up 2 games to none in the NLDS. The Phillies are one win away from advancing! Cole Hamels will pitch in Cincinnati on Sunday at 7:00pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Catcher Brian Schneider grew up a Phillies fan. He realized his dream of playing for his home town team this year and today, he became the savior of his team in a tough, extra innings game. More on that in a minute…
Before tonight’s game against the Reds, the big news revolved around Shane Victorino. Apparently, he had a few strong words for the fans of Philadelphia. He said, “I’m hearing fans yelling, ‘Victorino, you’re horrible; you stink,'” during last night’s loss to the Braves. Victorino went on to say, among other things, “It’s frustrating when you hear those things from your own fans.”
A few things to note here: the games are still selling out. And for the small 4 or 5% of fans that are yelling insults, the rest are still cheering the team on. Victorino is right to be frustrated, but that should be directed at the way the team has been playing, not at the fans. But don’t worry Shane; we are still behind you.
Victorino took his frustrations out on the ball in the 1st inning when he hit a home run to silence the doubters. He also hit an RBI-single in the 3rd inning which turned out to be a very strange play. Victorino collided with Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto at first and his glove flew off; Cueto dropped the ball, which rolled to Joey Votto who tossed it back to the bare-handed Cueto. He dropped the ball again and Jimmy Rollins scored. The game was then delayed as Cueto appeared to have the wind knocked out of him. He was fine though and the game went on.
For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick pitched very well, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Having left Jamie Moyer in too long last night, manager Charlie Manuel was not going to make the same mistake again. He pulled Kendrick and had JC Romero get the final out of the 7th inning.
But more drama was yet to come. Fresh off the disabled list, Ryan Madson saw his first game action since April in the 8th inning. He allowed two singles and then with two outs in the inning, he surrendered the one run lead on another very odd play. Brandon Phillips struck out on a wild pitch which sailed past catcher Brian Schneider. Phillips ran to first as both Schneider and Madson went after the ball, not realizing until it was too late that Drew Stubbs was running home and no one was covering. Stubbs scored and tied the game 2-2.
In the bottom half of the inning, Wilson Valdez led off with a triple. Rollins hit a sac fly to score him and give the Phils a 3-2 lead going into the 9th inning. But that meant that it was Brad Lidge time.
A one run lead and Lidge in the 9th has not been a sure thing for a very long time. And right away, Lidge gave up a hit and a walk. It looked like he may get out of it when the next batter hit into a double play. But Miguel Cairo, who was with the Phils last year, hit an RBI-double on the 2nd pitch he saw to tie the game again. And just like that, Lidge earned yet another blown save.
The Phillies could not score in the 9th so off to extra innings they went. In the 12 inning, the drama continued as Jayson Werth had a small confrontation with a very dumb fan. With two outs, a foul ball went just above the wall in right field and Werth was right there to catch it. Unfortunately, the dumb fan snagged the ball right before it went into Werth’s glove. Werth had a few choice words for the guy. But all was well as pitcher Nelson Figueroa got the batter to ground out.
Figueroa pitched two amazing innings and was on deck to bat and go for three when Brian Schneider finally ended the game. Schneider crushed a ball which sailed over the right field wall to give the Phillies a 12 inning, walk-off 4-3 win over the Reds. Way to go, Brian! You rock!
The Phillies family lost another beloved member today. Maje McDonnell, who would have been 90 years old later this month, passed away today. McDonnell spent his entire life with the Phillies. He grew up in Philly and served with the Phillies as a batting practice pitcher, coach, scout, instructor and a Veterans Stadium tour guide in his 57 years with the team. He had just retired last year.
McDonnell was also a war hero, having served in World War II, earning a combat badge, five battle stars and a Bronze Star. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Maje. He will be missed.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography