“Seeing all this footage of Cliff Lee in a Phillies uniform is like bumping into a girl who left you at the altar,” I explained.
“Yeah, but her father is the one keeping you apart,” said the guy next to me.
“Ooh, that’s good, I have to use that,” I replied.
Instead of some fairytale second chance, the Phillies weren’t going to nab Cliff Lee. Their starting rotation is said to be in the crosshairs before the trade deadline, and Lee, freshly single, was more than likely about to be kidnapped and slathered in greasy Yankee money. Also, hey. We’re down 7-1.
What a terrible night.
Phillies 9, Reds 7
Biking across town, I was putting a lot of effort into making good time, which is to say, I never really slowed down, blew through a few red lights, and almost rode onto a highway. By the time I got where I was going, my heart felt like it was going burst out of my chest, run down the street, and mug somebody at knife point.
As I stood on the street corner, not able to catch my breath for an upsetting amount of time, some tightly-shirted brosky sauntered past with his two right hand men.
“Holy shit, the Phillies just tied it at seven,” he OMG’d.
“Blluuurururgghle,” I replied, vomitting on his shoes in a combination of shock and and an absent of physical fitness.
But it wasn’t always that way. When Joe Blanton started this one, I was vomiting for a much different reason. Contrary to that CBP ad campaign with the fluttery classical music playing in the background, there hasn’t been a surplus of magic in the Bank this year. The scratching and clawing necessary to re-enter what is in most cases a lost cause has been heavily outweighed by a generous cross section of raucous, violent jackassery–and on the part of the players, gutwrenching underperformance.
Big Joe, who somehow remains likable on a personal level, even when he’s getting torched for six runs through five and a third, had been figured out. The Reds bulldozed straight through him, paving the way for an appearance from the Phillies bullpen, one of three aspects of our game with the capacity for an all-aces lockdown, or complete and utter implosion (The other two being the starting pitching and offense).
David Herndon, Danys Baez, J.C. Romero, and Ryan Madson put their hands in the middle, shouted “No more runs!” and actually stuck to the mantra until Romero surrendered the last flash of Reds offense on the night in the 9th. But even so, the relief corps held the offensively boisterous Reds to a single ER in the last 4 and 2/3 innings. Mad Dog got his second win in a row.
When you consider how easy it was for them to pretty much score at will through the first 5.1, this alone was a sight to behold. The turbulence in the fan/player dynamic in Citizens Bank Park even bled a little further into the open as Blanton tipped his cap to the crowd while walking off the field amidst a sea of boos.
But it wasn’t until Greg Dobbs socked a pole-smacking dinger to bring in three Phillies and cut the lead to 7-5 that viewers across the Delaware Valley stopped flipping between the game and “E! True Hollywood Story: Jennifer Aniston” (She’s been through so much, guys).
After that, it was just a matter of getting dudes on base in order to homer them in, courtesy of both Cody Ransom and Ryan Howard, victimizing a giggling Mike Leake, a grunting Francisco Cordero, and a mystified Arthur Rhodes, respectively. By the time Howard was getting intimate with a 2-1 Arthur Rhodes original, the air was dense with “comeback.”
But what does this mean? Depending on who you ask, momentum is anywhere from half to all of baseball, and with two walkoff home runs in two nights, one of them at the end of an absurd comeback, the Phillies have got to have it. The Reds have not exactly marketed themselves as “stoppable” in a very effective way, and with the Phils dropping series after series like bread crumbs through a forest of shit, two wins is both a source of relief and disappointingly foreign.
They’ve been swearing their a second half team, and while there are mere shreds of the first half remaining, you can’t really fault them for wanting to get a head start.
I need to start exercising.