Messages come in the most peculiar ways.
This morning I sat wondering what makes players hot or sometimes cold when suddenly my son bound from his room firing his fake M-16 rapid-style about the room like we were in battle. So I asked him the logical question.
“Is there something I should know?”
He simply flipped the gun upside down and started singing a rock song into end of the barrel.
Maybe I thought too much of it.
Maybe I’m doing the same thing with the Phillies.
I think the message is, the Phillies do battle; then the fat lady sings. That’s as simple as it gets. Charlie would say, “Stop talking about it.” I will… starting now.
Just before the game, we saw a commercial for a movie called Drag Me To Hell. After the violent, spastic, horror trailer ended, I glanced at my son with my jaw gaped in shock and said, “Wow, you think that’s a comedy?”
He replied, “Probably a chick flick. Looks a lot like Bride Wars.”
I don’t know where he got his sense of humor but Charlie didn’t have one after Chan Ho Park ‘dragged us to hell’ today. The skipper pulled him after 1 1/3 innings, nudging the bullpen awake early in the 2nd after Park struck out two but allowed five hits, four runs, and three walks before he handed Jack Taschner loaded bases and a single out.
So what’d Jack do?
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack hit the first batter with a pitch
But he kept us in the ballgame until Chad Durbin came on in the 5th. Durbin was disturbin’ more than just Phil’s fans when he gave Willingham a love tap right between the shoulder blades. The problem was it just so happened to be with an 85 mile an hour pitch. The batter took his base and Chad took a warning. It was the 9th batter beaned in this series. Can you feel the love?
Then Durbin struck out a batter with such a nice pitch even Tom and Gary in the booth were surprised. I almost expected Tom to say, “Check on that Sarge. Are you sure Charlie hasn’t switched pitchers?”
Congratulations on a decent outing, Chad.
Then Sergio Escalona took over in the 7th. (What did Flattish just write?) Yeah, Sergio Escalona. He’s from AA Reading (like I had any idea until Tom McCarthy said something). He came up with Andrew Carpenter who started Saturday night and would have done better but he forgot to breathe until the 2nd inning.
Sergio had a scoreless 7th and Scott Eyre did the same in the 8th, but he was summoned back in the 9th to face the first two batters–lefties. He struck out the first and walked the second, leaving that mistake for Brad Lidge to deal with.
Now remember, Lidge had not made it through a game without allowing a run until Saturday so, just like a good horror movie, I didn’t know whether to hide my eyes or giggle in anticipation of the next horrible slaughter.
I had already chewed down two nails in the time it took him get to the mound. As he threw the first pitch, I read the words that popped up on the screen explaining that Brad had no double play ground outs in twelve opportunities. It was like an omen; it felt like The Omen. I was so scared. But like a twist in a great script, the next pitch yielded a miraculous 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
So the bullpen covered 7 2/3 innings and helped cap a four game series sweep with an 8-6 win. We have the best road winning percentage in baseball at 12-4 and our hitters managed 33 runs and 49 hits in this series alone.
The game had a lot of action but the best play came in the 8th. Jayson Werth-y had just singled when my favorite Hawaiian drew a walk on four pitches from the hotheaded Julian Tavarez. Then Pedro Feliz set down a perfectly executed bunt that was well-fielded but the throw whizzed past the first baseman, allowing two Phils to score. It handed us the runs we needed to move ahead by two so when Washington failed to score again, it proved a costly error.
And oldie Jimmy was back–again. He went 2 for 5, and got picked off on his first stolen base attempt but that didn’t stop him from trying again. I like try. I like it when Jimmy takes it upon himself to get into scoring position and I like it when it just so happens to coincide with a Chase Utley double. I guess I just like scoring, especially when I can do it in the same sentence with Jimmy and Chase.
Raul Ibanez was the league’s 3rd leading hitter coming into Sunday but he unfortunately went 0 for 5, only earning his way to base on a walk. He would have had a hit in the 9th but Adam Dunn decided to move his butt for the first time and actually field a ball in right. Hell of a time for the fire to light under him. I loved Raul's performance in this series but like Charlie suggested, I'm gonna stop talking about it.
Here’s an interesting fact. Eric Bruntlett led the Phils in batting average and steals in spring training which must be why Charlie continues to send him to the plate even though he’s batting only 138. But in the Sunday game, he pinch-hit in the 6th and finally delivered. He hit a double and earned an RBI in the process, and I’m sure that did more for his peace of mind than mine.
Shane Victorino is using Matt Stairs’ bat. He says it’s bigger in the barrel... the bat, not the Matt, although both are true.
Jayson Werth is still “Playmate of the Week,” I mean, “Phillie of the Week,” at least for one more day. But there’s still no mention of a calendar.
And I’m spent. The Phils battled through four games in just over 48 hours; I simply had to duck gunfire this morning in my living room. Fortunately we have Monday off. I think I’ll snuggle up on the couch and watch a good movie. But believe me, Hell won’t be in the title.
See you at the ballpark.