Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feels So Good! Phils Rally to Beat Mets

For 8 innings, it looked like the Phillies were going to go down meekly against the Mets and the great Johan Santana. The 9th inning almost seemed a matter of course and the Phillies would relinquish 1st place to the hated Mets. Even though the Mets were without closer Billy Wagner, the Phils showed little life all night. Frankly, I was ready to turnover to the "Office" rerun on TBS.

That is, until temporary closer Duaner Sanchez came into the game and the Phillies promptly mowed through the Mets bullpen to the tune of 6 runs in the 9th inning en route to a 8 - 5 win. The win was stunning in light of the Phillies inability to solve Santana.

That the Phils did manage to scratch out 2 runs against Johan Santana is a bit deceiving. Santana cruised for much of the game, with the top of the Phils' lineup (*cough* Rollins and Utley *cough*) not doing much of anything in going 0-for-Santana.

But in the 9th inning, the Phils finally came back to life, stroking 5 hits. The killing blows were delivered by the oft-maligned So Taguchi, who hit a 2-run double to tie the game, and Jimmy Rollins, who hit a 2-run double to give the Phillies the lead. This game and this rally could have been the shot in the arm the moribund Phils' offense has been looking for.

The game marked the debut of the Phils' new starter, Joe Blanton. Blanton, obtained in a deal with Oakland looked OK. He gave up two very damaging 2-run home runs (one to Delgado, the other to Ramon Castro) in going 6 innings, throwing 100+ pitches. All in all, Blanton looked just OK. After the Phils came back in the top of the 9th inning, Brad Lidge came on to record a nerve racking save.

The win puts the Phils alone in 1st place, a game ahead of both the Mets and the Marlins. The series continues tomorrow, with Brett Myers returning from his minor league hiatus to face John Maine.

Did You Notice?

- The Phils' defense recorded 2 big time outs at the plate; one from Werth and one from Pat Burrell (via Jimmy Rollins). Great job on both plays by Carlos Ruiz of blocking the plate. Coincidentally, both times, it was Endy Chavez they got at the plate.

- Speaking of that fucktaster Chavez, what's gotten into him since he's been with the Mets? He hit .215 with the Phils in 2005, but has managed to hit .318 with a .348 OBP against the Phils this year.

- What was Johan Santana staring at when he walked in the 6th inning? It's called "pitching inside", Johan. It's legal; you can look it up.

- I'm sorry, but Carlos Delgado was struck out in that at-bat in the 3rd inning. He did not check his swing and Charlie Manuel rightfully argued the call. Naturally, Delgado managed to hit a 2-run homer in the same at-bat.

- Speaking of arguing balls and strikes, the home plate umpiring left a lot to be desired.

- Horrible play by Reyes in the 9th inning, where he tried to start a 6 - 3 double play on a ball hit by Carlos Ruiz. As he reached for the high bounding ball with his bare hand, he got beat to the 2nd base bag by the speedy Shane Victorino. The failed play at 2nd base allowed Carlos Ruiz to reach first safely. Just a dumb play when your team is up 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning (he obviously should have gone to first on the play). And yes, you could say this play opened the flood gates for the Phils.

- Good game from Victorino; the aforementioned hustle play in the ninth inning and a solo homer off of Santana.

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