“What is wrong with Chase Utley?!” we demanded. “He has been underperforming of late and we, the fans, deserve to know!”
“First of all, no you don’t,” Ruben Amaro replied, calmly cleaning a shotgun on top of his giant mahogany desk, “Second of all, the man is fine. You’re all just a bunch of whining, self-absorbed sports fans; an amorphous, uncontrollable stampede of irrational thought and finger-pointing.”
“Waaaaaaaaaaah,” we whined.
The previous exchange never took place, but in the past few weeks, culminating in the past few days, everybody from Wayne in Human Resources to Heidi in Accounts Management to Ricky, that guy who cleaned the copy machine until somebody realized he didn’t even work here, to Davey Lopes, has been contesting that a “poorly hitting Chase”is a “possibly wounded Chase.”
Which is an idea with its merits.
“Hey, watch this!” Chase Utley said, and went 2-for-5 with a 2 run HR and 4 RBI.
“Doubt me,” Chase said at a press conference. ”Doubt me, fuckers.” Then he slapped the microphone off the table stormed out of the room, giving dual middle fingers to the press corps.
That last part never happened.
Phillies 9, Twins 5
And then Ryan Howard went 4-for-4 and beat the bloody piss out of two entire baseballs, the stadiun exploded, the Twins tried to date rape our bullpen, and suddenly, the game was over, and we’d won three in a row.
So. Are we back?
We were last night. I refuse to be one of those people who lives and dies with previous night’s activities. If I did that I may actually have questions why I wok up this morning with three All-Star ballots with “OUTLANDER!” scrawled across them with a marker and a half a box of Sudafed in my pockets.
This is an everlasting, god-awful sport, we play a lot of it. Too much, probably. But the volume of baseball allows for trends in a team, and considering the Junes of previous years have been horrifying massacres as well, we can look back (hopefully) on this slump we seem to be climbing out of and laugh. Or, sob. Or be able to watch a game without restraints.
Three wins in a row is a lot, but the important thing is that we’re not throwing perfect games or slipping by with a run or two to win them. We’re doing what you need to do, what you’re expected to do, to win games in any sport: scoring. Slump or not, right now, we are playing well, and we can only hope that it continues–it should be all the easier to do so knowing Chase isn’t masking a shattered pelvis or anything.
No, last night’s screw-ups belonged to the bullpen, and also probably Charlie a little, for leaving Big Joe Blanton (6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K) out there for one too many earned runs. Durbin and Romero were lights-out, and in the 9th, Lights Out was lights out as well.
You know who it was great to see was Scott Mathieson. With an arm comprised of tendons from different parts of his body (Leading some funny people to keep shouting “He’s a monster!” Everyone thought it was clever and humorous, thanks for asking), Mathieson is exactly the kind of -never-say-die story that Phillies fans can get behind. Especially now, when a dependable fireballer in the bullpen is exactly what we need.
If only he’d pitched well.
Appearing between the Romero-Lidge cocktail, Scott hopped back into baseball, only to show his inexperience by letting the Twins hastily scramble and score two runs on three hits. He got two outs, and we had a monster lead, but we still leaned on Lidge to get that last Twin.
And we couldn’t get out of our comeback story without some sort of momentous atrocity, so when Carlos Ruiz took a piece of splintered wood to the face and had to leave the game, all we could do was quietly chant a respectful chorus of “Choooooooch.” The man just wants some ice cream.
At 4:10 today, we’ll see just how many legs this win streak has. Is it an unfathomable centipede of victory from the depths of opposing team’s nightmares? Or just a hilarious fluke played by a team still festering in the dumps? Or possibly some kind of third option between the two extremes (you mean other than a centipede or dumps? Impossible).