For the Phillies 44th straight sellout, fireworks weren’t planned, but they went off anyway.
Prior to the game, it was all about Jimmy Rollins. With his leg wrapped in an ace bandage, the Phillies spark-plug/leadoff-man spoke to reporters in a somber tone. About three hours later, some sort of game broke out that featured many crooked numbers.
It started as a baseball game and turned into a football game as the Phillies led 7-6 after just two innings. Where do you want to start? How about with Kyle Kendrick. With Spring Training a distant memory for KK, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up a touchdown, no wait, six earned runs, before the fans turned on him. He’d been the darling of Clearwater, the heir apparent to that vacant 5th spot. Now, Kendrick is hoping to make his next start. Should he? Charlie Manuel has a tough decision to make.
But fear not, Craig Stammen was just as inept. The Washington starter managed just 1 1/3 innings, somehow looking even sillier than Kendrick. In the first, Ryan Howard got the ball rolling with a two-run single, followed by a Greg Dobbs double that scored one. Ibanez sacrificed home Howard, and just like that the Phillies had a lead.
An inning later, Chase Utley went yard on a three-run shot, and just like that, Stammen gave up seven runs, all earned, and was bounced. On a normal night, the faithful cheer when a shell-shocked opposing pitcher is pulled. Tonight, the fans themselves seemed a bit shellshocked.
The Nats would counter with a lone run in the third to tie it, but the Phillies made sure the offense would continue to roll without J-Roll. In the fifth, Shane Victorino scorched a ball into the first row in right field for his second homer of the season. Taking Rollins place at the top of the order, Victorino seems quite comfortable. He wasn’t done either. In the sixth, Chase Utley blasted his second homer of the night, this one well into the second deck, to make it 10-7.
Throughout the back and forth, throughout the mass pitching changes and double-switches, most of the fans stayed put. Even when guys like Bergmann, English, and Bernadina got burn for the Nats.
In the seventh inning, there was perhaps the loudest eruption of all. Jayson Werth pinch hit for Chad Durbin, and all was right with the world. Before the game, Werth took big hacks in the cage and looked like his normal self, launching the ball into the stands. His hip flexor strain was deemed fine, although he would reach base with a walk. With Werth on first, and Juan Castro and Carlos Ruiz on base ahead of him, Sugar Shane would clear the bases with a triple to make it 13-7. CBP was spun into a frezny. The crowd was so moved, they clapped just as loud (so it seemed) after Polanco sac flied to bring in Victorino. Just that kinda night.
All in all, 45,438 certainly got their money’s worth. The Phils put up 14 runs on 14 hits for their 5th straight victory, and after a scary top half of the first, everyone rested easily by games end. This post has rambled on long enough, it’s time for bed. And then, time to get at it bright and early tomorrow for a 3 p.m. ring-ceremony-start where there will be plenty of planned fireworks.