It wasn’t a sweep so much as it was a squeegeeing, but it seems like everything’s back to normal. With a 12-3 drubbing of the Cleveland Indians, the Phillies have won three straight and seven of 10, and now only 2 1/2 games back of the Braves and Mets for first place in the NL East.
On a humid June afternoon, the Tribe and the Phillies sent nearly a quarter ton of starting pitcher to the mound between them, with drastically different results. Fausto Carmona gave up seven runs, five of them earned, and five of them in the second inning alone as the Phillies jumped out to leads of 5-0, 7-2, and 12-2 by the end of the seventh inning. Joe Blanton delivered one of the best performances of what has been a disappointing season. Among Indians hitters, it seemed that only former Phillies farmhand Jason Donald had the measure of Blanton. Donald went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Blanton was cruising, needing only 92 pitches to get through 7 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out eight without walking a batter.
Lucky for the Phillies, Jayson Werth, as the ranking tall, bearded man on the team, had been spending his day collecting two of every animal, male and female, and Jimmy Rollins and Brian Schneider, the two Phillies with the day off, could be seen scurrying around to find bats, eventually constructing an ark 300 cubits long by 50 cubits wide by 30 cubits high.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Phillies managed 15 hits, went 5-for-12 with men in scoring position, and dropped two five-run innings on the dumbfounded Indians, entering the rain delay with a 9-run lead. Placido Polanco paced the Phillies with four hits, Chase Utley and Werth had three each, and Dane Sardinha hit his first career home run. Every Phillies starter, including Blanton, scored at least one run. After the rain delay, the unimaginatively-named Joe Smith put the “mop” in “mopup,” logging a scoreless eighth inning for Cleveland.
In other notes, Uncle Cholly was tossed for the second time in three days for arguing a baserunning infraction. No doubt he wanted to get out of the heat. Also, Nelson Figueroa returned to action this afternoon, relieving Blanton after the 1 hour, 37-minute rain delay. He retired all four batters he faced.
Tomorrow begins the series against Toronto that includes home games 82, 83, and 84. Until then, Nation, stay dry and we’ll see you tomorrow.