“He ain’t dead. Not by a longshot.” –Charlie Manuel
For those of you out there with massively mistaken views on what exactly a sprained ankle entails, Charlie Manuel is here to inform you that Ryan Howard’s was not fatal. The Phillies season, already having snared some of the most important names off the roster and dragged them screaming onto the disabled list, has been chock full of bench players and freak accidents. With Howard’s little ankle roll, which will only cost him and us a “few days” without his bat, 100% of our infield starters have seen bench time thanks to injury this season.
“I guess once the swelling goes down we’ll see what happens,” Howard explained.
Behind him, Charlie Manuel pulled out a small derringer and glared at his starting first baseman (and for a while, sole ray of offense), knowing full well what his absence from the starting nine would mean.
“It’s going to be a short period,” the West Virginian muttered sinisterly.
Phillies 6, Nationals 4
By the time we had gotten to our seats at Nationals Park, November had suck into the sky and garroted the heat out of July. There was wind. There was drizzle. There were three children scrambling all over each other in the row in front of us. There was the Washington Monument off in the distance, forever judging us as it pierced the overcast sky.
Combined with what was happening on the field, the afternoon was quickly becoming an utter disaster.
“Why is Cody Ransom batting cleanup?” I asked, a letting a chuckle slip out–the chuckle of a man who believes he has stumbled upon an opportunity to out think a professional baseball manager. “Why would Charlie do that? Makes no sense…”
As a half inning went by, the temperature drop became more and more significant, causing a higher number of fans to see shelter in the oh my god Ryan Howard must have gotten hurt that’s why Ransom’s hitting fourth.
With the Nats having just tied the game at 2 a piece on a 394-foot Adam Dunn “eff you” to Cole Hamels, my hopes crashed into my soul and both exploded. There were no survivors. I spent the next few innings wondering what in the hell could have happened, how bad it could be, and how stupid it is for me to be invested in the blogosphere without owning a cell phone that can access the internet.
Sometimes I get scared that Charlie leaves his starting pitcher in as if to say, “Well, what do you want me to do? Use the bullpen?” Then he laughs and laughs and sprints across the field to punch Danys Baez in the face.
But Cole Hamels, despite the four runs on the scoreboard, went seven innings with 10 K’s (yeah), giving up four runs on six hits. And yeah, we were certainly “avoiding a sweep” rather than “extending the wind streak to 11″ like in my dreams, but with the game starting on a seemingly one-way highway to shit, Cole was a godsend.
It took two extra innings, some Polanco/Valdez offense, and a conversation with Nationals Park security about “not using that kind of language again” to pull this one out, but eventually, the Phillies managed to peck and claw their way to a victory against one of the shittiest teams in baseball, and it only cost them their offensive powerhouse first baseman to do it.
Yeah, thanks. A day off is probably a good idea.