This week we’re counting down the top 10 moments of the 2016 Phillies season.
Here is No. 9.
9. Everybody loves a Paredes
September didn’t supply us with a wealth of memorable moments. The Phillies were bad in the final month of the season, probably tired, probably wary, probably thinking more about 2017 and beyond than any meaningless game before the chill of autumn came through.
There were bright spots, of course: The first two innings of that Saturday night game at Citi Field that the Phils nearly blew; the final game of the season; that Ryan Howard grand slam (they lost that game); and this game, Sept. 16 against Miami.
This one started like most Phillies games late in the season, with the good guys scoring no runs and the bad guys scoring some runs. The Marlins took a 2-0 lead after five thanks to an RBI double by Martin Prado and RBI single by J.T. Realmuto. Adam Morgan was taken out after 4.1 innings, and it was up to David Hernandez to hold the deficit.
Typically this is where things went wrong. Either the Phils’ bullpen couldn’t string together outs, giving up another three to 11 runs in the process, or the offense couldn’t manufacture enough runs to catch up to the opposition. By Sept. 16, a 2-0 deficit was sadly looking insurmountable.
In the bottom of the sixth, however, that changed. Howard struck a home run to right-center field to lead off the inning. Cameron Rupp followed with a double, pushing Miami starter Tom Koehler out of the game.
Mike Dunn was next in, which didn’t matter to Odubel Herrera, who knocked a double that scored Rupp. Freddy Galvis followed with a single, and suddenly the Phils were actually getting consecutive hits. A new phenomenon.
That would send the game into extra-innings, and there’s nothing more fun for anyone than watching two-non-contending teams go into extra innings in September.
The game proceeded in kind. The Phils typically couldn’t solve Kyle Barraclough, former Phillie Dustin McGowan, Hunter Cervenka and Fernando Rodney. The Marlins had actual chances against the Phils bullpen but failed to get anything done.
The 11th was especially nail-biting. Luis Garcia got two quick outs, then surrendered a double to constant-thorn-in-our-side Prado. He intentionally walked Christian Yelich, then unintentionally walked Marcell Ozuna to load the bases. Thankfully Realmuto was not the real murderer in this scenario, ending the inning with a strikeout.
Things continued to be annoying. The Phils put their first two on against A.J. Ramos in the 12th, then Andres Blanco quickly hit into a 1-6-3 double play. Frank Herrmann was brought out of dungeon to pitch, and he of course shut down the Marlins in order, twice.
Then came the bottom of the 13th, and the 100 people still in the seats were finally rewarded. Peter Bourjos singled. Herrera singled, sending Bourjos to third. After Ramos intentionally walked Galvis, he had to face all-world bench player Jimmy Paredes.
And then Paredes had his top highlight of 2016.
Was this a fun game? Hard to say.
But was this a top moment in a year that needed a crazy but ultimately joyous game like this?
You’re damn right.