Sunday, October 26, 2008

World Series Notes: Game Four, Phillies-Rays

The following Small Points for your amusement, from tonight's game...

> There's over the top, there's wildly over the top, and then there's Patti LaBelle. For those of you who missed the national anthem, let's just say that she's, um, unique.

> Andy Sonnastine was the member of the Rays' rotation that I thought the Phillies could really handle, and he didn't disappoint, pitching only four innings and allowing nine baserunners. Part of this was bad luck with a blown umpire call at third in the first ining (Justice for Jamie Moyer's non-win!), but still -- he wasn't sharp at all. The Rays won't use him again this year.

> A word on Joe Blanton. I've watched the man pitch a lot for my Oakland A's, and what you saw tonight? Not him. Cupcakes just keeps the ball low, works fast, is a reasonable 4 or 5 starter that's miscast in the top of the rotation. He's not dominant, with nasty filth stuff everywhere, and a power bat to boot. Seriously, the Rays' should check the DNA.

> Giving that Akinori Iwamura won gold gloves in Japan and has spent this series making errors... I'm wondering what the exchange rate for gold is on the Nippon exchange. (Your alternate joke here is that Iwamura is Japanese for Whoops.)

And of course, after writing this, he makes a great play for a double play in the seventh. The lesson: never say anything.

> When you're going good, you're getting the breaks. To a more cursed Phillies team, a line drive off the pitcher is a hit, a hurt pitcher, the prelude to a big inning.

For the Phillies tonight, it was Blaton with the kick save to Pedro Feliz for an out. Just another 1-5-3 putout.

> With his no-doubt home run, Blanton entered The Pantheon of unlikely Philly World Series pitching heroes. It's a short list (Marty Bystrom! Bob Walk! Dickie Noles! Jamie Moyer), but with one more win, he'll never buy another beer in this town.

> In the seventh, Ryan Madson makes what might be the pitch of the game, getting Bossman Junior Upton to whiff on a 3-2 change with two on and two out. Bossman Junior is going to make a lot of money in his MLB life, but he's not the same guy that killed Boston. Thank heavens.

> If you saw Frank Calliendo in public, and he was criminally assaulted in front of you, would you do anything to stop it, or would you just try to commit every second of it to memory? These are the things that I think about during heavy rotation commercials.

> Another heavy rotation commercial reaction... does it diminish the accomplishment of Indiana Jones in the last movie that the villainess that he foiled was pregnant? (The actress Cate Blanchett, of course.) Having seen the Shooter Wife through two pregnancies, I say no, no, a thousand times, no...

> In the seventh, Fox's heads talked about how Charlie Manuel was interested in working Brad Lidge for more than one inning tonight. As someone rooting for the Phillies in this series, I'm not interested in him having to do that. A game without drama is OK, guys.

> The stat of the series: Pena and Longoria, 0 for 29, 15 whiffs. Ye Gads.

> Just so the rest of the non-Philly world is aware... Ryan Madson's career WHIP is 1.36, and he's never thrown this hard before. I have no idea how he became Utterly Freaking Dominant, but more power to him.

> In Tampa, the Phillies got a split despite having little from Rollins, Howard and Burrell. In Philly for the last two games, Rollins and Howard have come alive, and life for Philly Fan is much, much better...

> In Game Three, after getting picked off second base in what seemed to be a crushing mistake, a colleague assailed Jayson Werth for his doofy facial hair. Tonight, after a no-doubt insurance homer that made it 8-2 in the ninth? It's Distinguished.

> Ryan Howard's eighth inning home run, off lefty Trevor Miller, that made it 10-2... was the baseball equivalent of the good guy in a pro wrestling match running in and cleaning house. Seriously, he should have just Miller with a steel chair. It'd have been less obvious.

> In the surprisingly relaxed ninth, JC Romero makes an error put the leadoff man on, and just as we go to the Here We Go feeling... the next man makes out, and the man after that, with an emphatic strikeout of Jason Bartlett. Because, well, these aren't the Red Sox, and an 8-run lead in the ninth agains the bottom of an order that hasn't hit much for the first four games of this Series... well, it's not getting eight runs for the heartbreak loss.

> Your final out as the Phillies move to a 3-1 Series lead is JC Romero going upstairs on Rocco Baldelli, treating him like yesterday's newspaper. You know, the one that talked about how close and exciting this Series has been. Domination.

> Post game, Joe Maddon talked about Blanton having a mark on his cap, and wondered to some extent if Something Was Afoot.

As someone who wants the Phils to win, keep thinking that, Rays. It's got to be cheating. Think a lot about that.

> As the game moved to the ninth, other Philly Fans in my IM circle spoke of how odd it was to see their team like this... which is to say, cruising to a win, getting every break, marching on. Almost as if they were, well, Not From Here.

Earlier today, in the Eagles' game, the Falcons called their third and final time out before the two minute warning. On the subsequent punt, the refs blew the call badly, awarding a muff fumble to the home team. Since the Falcons had no timeouts left, they couldn't challenge, and that was, well, that. Brian Westbrook broke a touchdown run for the suck out cover that made the final score look a lot easier than it was.

My town never gets that call, or, at least, never remembers getting that call. Perhaps it's a new day; perhaps this is what 100 seasons of futility coming to an end might, well, feel like.

Because this Phillies team? It doesn't feel like it's from that place.

And if Cole Hamels and the suddenly red-hot Phillies' bats can get it done tomorrow night, that town will no longer exist.

And the congregation sings, Amen...

1 comment:

Tracer Bullet said...

I was on the Bleeding Green Nation board when that call came in and everyone there was gobsmacked to see a bad call go in the Eagles' favor. The Giants got that call for 10 straight games last year. The Cowboys got that call for the better part of a decade (Call an OPI, dammit) but the Eagles never EVER get that call. And they had a successful two-minute drive to end the first half. If they didn't still suck in short yardage, I'd swear I was watching a different team.

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