In a week where half the baseball headlines have to do with angry old men taunting each other, it was nice to see some Phillies baseball that didn’t end with finger-pointing, freezing temperatures, or a press conference closer to the opening scene of Gran Torino than any sort of Q & A.
Charlie told the Rockies to “keep crying,” and Colorado manager Jim Tracy was more than happy to oblige the request by calling the Phillies “dumb” for the Holy-shit-Mick-Billmeyer’s-got-a-pair-of-binoculars fiasco.
Now, Charlie’s apologizing and I’m sure he and Jim will hash this all out the next time we’re out in Denver with a roguish southern grin and a bottle of something dangerous. Then maybe they’ll have the mindset to talk about wasted: mind-shatteringly intoxicated.
So, its nice to be somewhere like Wisconsin, where people know how to treat a raw milk bill right.
Phillies 9, Brewers 5
The night air was again thick with baseballs last night as the Brewers jumped on Jamie Moyer’s (6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.57 ERA) back for an inning and pounded him for three solo dingers. Fortunately, the Phillies brought their sticks to the park as well and returned the gesture with a slew of offense so wildly unexpected it can only be met with shrugging.
Of course, it doesn’t really blow the brain out the back of your head when Ryan or Chase sends one over the wall. In fact, it’s a little insulting every time they don’t do that. You wonder, “Why do you hate our team, Ryan? He’s throwing the baseball right at you. Just hit a home run every time.”
But in the Milwaukee series opener, there was offense crawling out of even the lowliest of places. Namely, Wilson Valdez and Paul Hoover, two guys who may not have their names on souvenir jerseys any time soon, but are more than willing to abuse Brewers’ pitching for the advancement of the team.
Unlike some people.
Valdez went ape shit and smacked a double and a triple–and for a guy who grounds into double plays about as often as he is consuming oxygen, that’s a fresh source of runs direly needed in this lineup quickly filling with “holes.” Seriously. The guy can’t check his watch without sending a dribbler to the opposing second baseman.
And Hoover, with a pair of singles, snapped an offensive drought with an optimistic performance that, while in no way fills in for the killing spree through which Carlos Ruiz was raging, it was good to see that he was capable.
Hoover’s that guy who’s been inhabiting minor league roster spots since he knew how to spit. At 34, he’s got to be at that point where the thought of retiring and becoming the sheriff of a sleepy small town in the midwest is all the more appealing. With the Phillies signing Schneider to back up Chooch, and Chooch just chooching the seams off the ball, hope couldn’t have been in hefty supply for him.
But, as Chris Coste’s book taught us, you never know what horrific series of strange and terrible things will occur for someone low on the totem pole to achieve minor success.
And so, with our back ups playing like starters, and Jamie Moyer hurling (and catching a line drive that would have obliterated the face of any less unkillable man) like a guy who’s been digging his cleats into mound-dirt for a couple of decades, game one goes our way.
The middle battle, as any trilogy will teach us, is usually the weak point. I’m not saying Joe Blanton doesn’t throw quality starts. I’m just saying I’ve never watched The Two Towers all the way through without falling asleep.
Maybe if Ryan Howard would man up and just hit home runs every time he’s up, we wouldn’t have to be so concerned about run support for Big Joe.
Set table, Joe. Let the offense do the rest. For, as that famous line from Field of Dreams goes, “It’s okay, honey. I… I was just talking to the cornfield.”
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