Stephen Strasburg kicked down the door to Major League Baseball last night and stormed loudly onto the mound at Nationals Park. They were out of standing room only tickets. Every set of pulsating eyeballs with the intention of sports writing were upon him. Tim Kurkjian’s head had to be continuously massaged so as to prevent an orgasmic baseball explosion.
Buried under this debut was the first ever major league game for the Marlins’ Mike Stanton, who the Fish saw enter the game with high hopes for his bat to do… every single thing that they seem to be lacking. Fredi Gonzalez, like an overbearing father warming up his 6′ 11″ fifth grade son just before a Little League game, offered his expectations.
“Nothing crazy like win the game or anything. Just go ahead, maybe hit three home runs and pitch the seventh for us.”
Stanton went 3-for-5 against the Phillies last night, then made the rookie mistake of hoping his spitfire offense (two infield singles) could be shouldered by the Marlins bullpen and carry them to the W. The bullpen, in turn, buckled under a slight breeze, as Taylor Tankersley couldn’t get the last out in the 8th before the tying and go-ahead runs were scored.
At about the same time, 138 miles down I-95, Stephen Strasburg had calmly murdered his 14th Pirate.
Phillies 10, Marlins 8
Kyle Kendrick and Chris Volstad were in a hurry to see who could outbleed the other, and at a time when the Phillies offense is in a state of deep, deep depression, that is just a terrible strategy. Fortunately for Kendrick, his team performed a massive offensive overhaul on what has become somewhat of a pathetic norm, and scored double digit runs.
Apparently they do still allow that to happen in baseball. Leading the charge were Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino’s HR’s and somebody named Raul Ibanez went 4-for-5 in a deliciously ironic twist. Ben Francisco, an afterthought when the offense is actually working, stepped up and slapped in his share of baserunners as well.
If you spend anytime floating around the Phillies blogosphere, you’d know that for the past few days, Rauuuuuuul has been all but strapped in for an execution, only to last night receive a pardon from the governor and be asked to maybe offer some adequate run support please?
At this point, as skeptic onlookers, we take a step back and wonder “Will it last? Can they keep it up? Was it a fluke? Am I sending out these pet-ransom notes to the Utleys or not?” We have spent the last few weeks getting burned alive by these guys, so excuse me if I’m not anxious to let them back into my “confidence zone” just yet (It’s just like the “Danger Zone” from Top Gun, but way cooler and a little less emotionally stable).
Rather than any sort of reaction, at this point, just look at the score, be glad it was in our favor, and don’t expect a miracle. Or mediocre ballplaying. My point is, too heavy of a reaction will scare this offense off like a deer on the highway, so just, watch where you’re driving. Nobody wants a windshield coated with doe’s blood.
Though it is hard to not acknowledge the importance of a turnaround with upcoming series with the Red Sox and Yankees on the horizon.
Buried even further under the headlines was the start of another young pitcher last night, and no, maybe he wasn’t a rookie, or even a phenom, but the important thing was that he wasn’t Kyle Kendrick.
J.A. Happ went into Single A Clearwater yesterday and threw three innings of rehab ball, giving up three hits and two runs. Boy, could we ever use a rehabilitated solid starting pitcher right now. Oh, wait. No. The pitching’s been okay. How good of a hitter was Happ? “Not very good at all”?