An odd thing happened today. The Phillies actually showed signs of life as they swept the division leading Braves in a 3-game series. Inspired baseball is not something we have seen a lot of this year, so this game was a real treat.
On top of his game again, Cole Hamels pitched 8 innings, allowing only 2 solo homers, both of which were absolutely murdered off the bat of Evan Gattis. The official word is that the 1st homer went 486 feet, which is a MLB record for the season. Yikes!
But aside from Gattis, Hamels had few problems.
The Phillies scored two runs in the first inning, but could not seem to kick start a rally after that despite some base runners.
Actually, base running was a bit of an adventure on this day. Jimmy Rollins stole a base, which was a plus. But rookie centerfielder Cesar Hernandez got picked off right before that and then was thrown out later in the game because he hesitated going around second base. He received a bit of coaching from Chase Utley in between innings (see photo):
The defense was solid and fans were oohing and ahhing again over Cody Asche, who made a few more spectacular plays.
With the game still tied in the 8th inning, the Phillies needed a spark. Darin Ruf provided the juice, and the lead, with a solo home run, his 13th of the year.
The Phils went into the 9th with a 3-2 lead and, luckily, passed on Jonathan Papelbon who had blown a save the night before. Papelbon also pitched 3 out of the last 4 days. So instead, B.J. Rosenberg pitched a clean 9th inning for his first career save.
Here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game, including a bunch of pre-game photos.
The Phils are off tomorrow and will face the Padres on Tuesday at 7:05pm.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After Roy Halladay began his first outing of the year by giving up 3 runs in the first inning, it was apparent that things were not headed in a good direction. Pitching in the sloppy, cold rain did not help either, but it was the perfect metaphor for what was about to unfold for the Phillies. It was indeed a sad rainy and dreary day.
Halladay did not even make it past the 4th inning. In 3 1/3, he put the Phils in a 5-0 hole. And then Raul Valdes added 2 more for the Braves in that 4th inning, to make matters worse.
But I refuse to spew bad things about the Doc. I will give him 3 strikes, as is appropriate, before I count him out. While this should not happen, 3 bad starts in a row would signal the beginning of the end.
However, let’s not even go there. On the bright side, Halladay did strike out 9 batters in just 3 1/3 innings. And he totally made the day for Braves rookie, Evan Gattis, who pounded a home run off Doc for his very first major league at-bat. There is night he won’t forget. Halladay is clearly a generous man.
Was that stretching for a bit of good news? Probably. But it is preferable to hanging my head and crying into my oatmeal over 1 starting pitching performance.
On the other hand, this is going to be a very long 5 days…
The Phillies have one last hope to grab a game from the Braves tonight…Cliff Lee takes the mound at 7:10pm.