Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ light at the end of the tunnel, the golden child, the chosen one, butchered his way through the Reading Phillies yesterday, leaving a massacred deluge of guts and dignity in his opposition’s clubhouse. It was like the scene in a sci-fi thriller when the marine squad finds the room on the derelict ship that everybody was slaughtered in.
And then they look up and Stephen Strasburg is hanging from the ceiling by his claws and makes some kind of “EHHHRHRRHHRHHRR!” noise before attacking with his four-way jaw.
“It was pretty impossible to hit,” said Phillies’ catcher Sean Rooney.
Space parasites are like that, Sean.
Phillies 2, Braves 0
It is not often that a man exists who can be truly labeled a “sure thing.” Everybody has their off days. Everybody has their on days. Everybody has those days where their friends hide their meds and spend the whole day communicating solely through movie dialogue said by Samuel L. Jackson.
Anyway, it would have been fair to say we stood much more of a chance against a pesky Braves’ lineup last night just because Doc, currently our “sure thing,” was on the mound, but truth be told, it wasn’t all Doc all the time. Actually, it literally was, because he pitched another complete game shut out.
Last night, the defense was so massively eloquent, precise, and relentless that baseballs had to work hard to get out of the infield. 15 of Doc’s 27 outs were ground balls. One of them was a home run by Troy Glaus that Shane Victorino absolutely stole like a shifty Hawaiian pick pocket. Chase threw his face into the ground to start a double play that probably saved the game as well.
And anybody watching Ryan Howard play first base in the last inning… it was like a bear walking out of his cave on the first day of spring, only to be shot at by a bunch of hunters with uzis and catching all the bullets in his claws.
Yeah. Exactly like that.
Ryan Howard did a split last night. That’s how ridiculous things got.
It seemed that we were on the verge of a “Well, shit” skid that would have the Braves either pounding on our back door on going out the front, in the sense of our placement in the standings, not some bizarre perverse that sprung to your mind when I used the phrase “back door.” And then again when I said “sprung.”
Kendrick’s start was a beaut, and to lose it in the final two innings could have been entirely debilitating, especially after Charlie Manuel responded to Ryan Madson’s latest ineptitude with an eerily repetitive utterance: “Ryan Madson, he’s our closer.“
Placido Polanco will not be hanging around third today, Phils-Braves, 7:10, Turner Field, as he was yanked after bruising his elbow or something getting hit by a pitch. Wilson Valdez, mind you, made the game-ending sweet-ass throw to first after coming into replace him, on a play that would probably have gotten more attention had it not been preceded by the best Phillies’ defense we’ve seen yet this year.
Jamie’s got the ball tonight, and if history is any indication, this may be another day where the bullpen is called upon early, while everyone grinds their teeth hoping they don’t poison everything the starter has accomplished. Hold onto your butts.