Sunday’s 11-6 Phillies victory over the Red Sox was a welcome change for a number of different reasons.
It was the shortest game Philadelphia has played since the June 9 loss to the Mets in eight and a half innings, it was the first Phils win of the series and it was a game that restored some semblance of faith in our inexperienced pitching staff, thanks to the recovery of J.A. Happ.
The Phillies were already three games up in the NL East when the game started, but I wonder if Charlie Manuel knew that the Met’s Johan Santana had lasted only three complete innings and allowed an amazing nine earned runs against the Yankees when he made the decision to let Happ work it out.
I wonder if he knew Derek Lowe of the Braves allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 innings. And I wonder if he had an inkling that Josh Beckett of the Red Sox, who had allowed only one earned run in his last 28.2 innings, would digress to his slow season start and give up 11 hits to the Phillies.
The swine flu has reportedly reached pandemic proportions.
Now it’s infiltrated the MLB. It’s mutated into the swine pitching flu, and trust me—we know what it’s like to stink.
The youngster Happ suffered from it in the second inning when he gave up back-to-back home runs, walked two, and allowed two singles and a sac fly to give the BoSox a quick 4-1 lead.
But Charlie put the sad Happ-y back in for the third, and watched as he walked his token two while giving up another single.
But then Happ shut Boston down in the fourth and the fifth, and allowed only one more hit—a dinger in the sixth—to bitter pitcher Josh Beckett. After one more walk, he finished his day with 108 pitches and a tie game.
The most amazing thing about Happ’s performance was the Red Sox didn’t chase his pitches anywhere. They weren’t even interested. You could have sashayed a Playboy Playmate past their bench and they wouldn’t have given her a glance.
Is it possible the swine flu mutated into the chastity flu?
If so, Pedro Feliz caught it. He chased nothing. He just stood stoic and waited for that hot little fastball to come begging for a hit.
You can’t blame him. He knows what he likes. I love restraint in a man, especially when he’s on my favorite team and not married to me.
That discipline earned him the “Chevrolet Player of the Game” and the accompanying spread in my Phillies “Playmate of the Game” calendar. He was 3-for-5 on the day, had two RBI, and scored twice himself. It was his 21st multi-hit game this season and increased his average to .318—a whopping 62 points above his career average. And he's now just four points below team slugging champ, Raul Ibanez.
That brings up the age old question: Is this really no game for old men?
Speaking of the old Zen master—Ibanez sat out his first game all year, breaking his 222 consecutive game streak. For a moment, I thought he’d come down with something too. But he was just getting a much needed break.
Or so they say.
Hey, was that an allegation?
I don’t know what had affected Jimmy Rollins’ bat. The ailing mahogany hadn’t seen a base hit in 14 trips to the plate. Then in the top of the seventh, he connected on Beckett’s 101st pitch, sending it soaring over the outfield wall, only to get greeted by the dugout “freeze.”
I hadn’t seen the Phillies smile like that since Jimmy orchestrated the “freeze” to newcomer John Mayberry after his first major league home run on May 23.
For a while I thought there was no smiling in baseball.
But J-Roll started a rally that wouldn’t end until the Phils had ripped through two more Red Sox pitchers and scored six runs off four hits in one inning.
Now that’s the job of the lead-off hitter; that’s the job of your leader. It was the first time in the series I felt like I was seeing the real Philadelphia Phillies play baseball instead of watching a team that looked exactly like what Phillie's fans are used to seeing.
Even Chase Utley was caught curling his lips.
I know! He faked a pop fly drop in the bottom of the seventh inning, probably to try to catch Boston outfielder Jason Bay off base.
But the umpire didn’t fall for it.
If Chase would smile at me, I’d fall for it. I guess that’s why I’m not an MLB umpire—aside from the fact that I have breasts—somewhere.
So the Phightin’s rebounded to win after two tough losses to what is allegedly the best team in the American League.
Since the Phillies won their second franchise World Series win last year, it seems everyone’s coming for us.
I spilled truffle oil on my pants and have been stalked by a pig ever since. Should I be alarmed?
See you at the ballpark.