One To Remember

werth coldBeing a fan of a baseball team that’s still playing October is still a fairly new experience for me, and I’m starting to understand that certain games in a post-season run will be the ones that you remember and that stay with you.  Last year, there was Game 2 of the NLDS against the Brewers, with the Victorino grand slam and the epic Brett Myers walk against CC Sabathia.  There was also Game 1 of the NLCS, which I watched at Bry’s rehearsal dinner in North Carolina, and, of course, the Matt Stairs Homerun Game later that series.

Last night will probably be one of those games for 2009, whether or not the Phils win it all again.  It stinks that the game was played at 10PM, ending after 2AM, and that so many fans couldn’t get to see it.  That being said, years from now, I’ll be talking to one of the people I watched it with and we’ll be saying, “Remember that game against the Rockies in ’09, when it was like 20 degrees in Denver and the game ended at quarter after 2 in the morning?”  Neither the weather nor the game time were ideal, but it was unique and the game was a great one.

Charlie Manuel had to make a ton of decisions in the game, here’s what me and the people I was watching the game with were thinking during key spots in the game:

-As soon as J.A. Happ walked the Rockie pitcher in the 2nd, I would’ve had Joe Blanton manuel rockieswarming up.  Happ had given up 2 runs in the first, it was clear he just didn’t have his command, and now the top of the Rockie order was coming up.  In a playoff game, you need to have a quick hook when your starter clearly doesn’t have it.

-Charlie should’ve hit for Blanton in the 6th inning, with 2 on and a 5-4 lead.  Blanton couldn’t get a sacrifice bunt down, then was taken out before he finished the next inning. That move was basically Charlie saying, “I don’t have any trust in my relievers.”  They had a fully rested pen, you have to think they could give you the four innings you needed at that point.

-When Eyre went down with the injury, I thought the right call was bringing in Antonio Bastardo to face Todd Helton with runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs.  Charlie went with Ryan Madson, and I think he made the right call.  Madson gave up the tying run on a sac fly, but his strike out of Helton was maybe the key out of the game for the Phils.  In a spot like that, you want the best guy you have, and that’s Madson.  Nice call by Charlie.

-And, of course, there’s Brad Lidge.  Given what they had available going into that 9th inning, I guess Lidge was the right call.  I’ve rooted for some shaky closers in my day, but I’ve never been more scared going into the bottom of the 9th than I was last night.  Lidge was the right guy in that spot, but I hope Charlie realizes that Madson is, by far, the best reliever he has right now, and he should use him accordingly.

There were maybe 7 Phillies that could be considered Player of the Game last night:

Carlos Ruiz: 2 HUGE RBI singles, one in the 4th and one in the 6th, both giving the Phils a one-run lead at the time. 

utleyChase Utley: 3-4 with a big 1st inning homer and the heads-up play in the 9th, where he busted it out of the box to beat out an infield single, even though the ball hit him in the box and probably should’ve been called foul.

Ryan Howard: An RBI single in the 4th and the game-winning RBI on a sac fly in the 9th.  Howard looks like he’s seeing the ball well, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put one over the wall in Coors Field tonight.

Raul Ibanez: He was hitless, but walked three times, including an amazing at-bat to draw a bases-loaded walk in the 4th.  And he made a great running catch on a Garrett Atkins drive in the 6th.

Joe Blanton: He gave up the Carlos Gonzalez homer, but he settled things down after Happ was all over the place.  Blanton ended up going 2.2 solid innings.

Ryan Madson: The aforementioned huge K of Helton that helped him put out a fire in the 7th.

Chad Durbin: 3 up and 3 down in the 8th inning.  Granted, Atkins, Spilborghs, and Barmes are not a Murderers’ Row of hitters, but it was the ONLY 1-2-3 inning by a Phillies pitcher all night, and it came at a great time.

Now, can someone please remind Carlos Gonzalez that he’s not Ted Williams?

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4 Responses to One To Remember

  1. bry says:

    I would think tonight is pretty important, not just to end this series (and not looking forward), but with Lee going tonite and the NLCS starting Thursday, he wouldn’t have full rest until Game 3. Which, I guess isn’t a huge deal, unless this thing goes 5 and Hamels has to go tomorrow, pushing him back to Game 4 (unless Lee goes on 3 days’ rest in Game 2 and then Hamels comes back for Game 3, on full rest). Either way, a win tonite allows Hamels to pitch Game 1, which would be nice.

    But, hey, that sounds like a tomorrow problem…

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