Heroes aren’t everywhere.
If they were, the crack alley leading up to my apartment would be crime and possibly feces-free. The walls of garbage on Broad Street slapping street-walkers on a windy day would dissipate. The Stanley Cup would be stained with orange.
Tonight, Citizens Bank Park was a harvest of heroes. There was Jayson Werth. Carlos Ruiz. Ben Francisco. Casey Blake.
But all of them were merely mindless puppets in the sick game of a child’s heroic witchcraft. Only several dozen feet away he sat, above the Phillies dugout, firing psycho-balls out of his finger tips as seasoned pro Broxton faltered, sweat, and heart attacked himself under the undying power of the midget’s hexing. Each time they cut back to him, the crowd would explode with jubliance, in exactly the opposite reaction the people had to witches in The Crucible.
And once more, the Dodgers dialed “B” for Broxton. No one answered.
Phillies 10, Dodgers 9
I’ve never shit my pants as an adult, but last night was a period of my life between the eighth and ninth innings that just about got the job done.
So while I was filling my pants with excitement, the stadium was lit up to the intensity of a street riot.
But it wasn’t always that way. Joe Blanton’s start was not the pristine thrill ride of the late inning offensive burst. He gave up three runs in the first inning with two outs without breaking a sweat, and charged like a Kentucky Fried rhino into the rest of his 5.2 IP only giving up one more additional run and scooping up the no decision for an “Okay, whatever” Phillies victory.
The bullpen… well, the bullpen sure did its part to make this one a dramatic comeback. Meaning they did everything but let the Dodgers cartwheel across home plate at will.
Meaning they were the bullpen.
Through three innings, the combination of Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero, Jose Contreras, and Danys Baez gave up a combined 5 runs, 3 of them earned, and 6 hits. The only one who was actually lights out was Baez, which more than confirms the theory that witchcraft was flowing through the park last night.
And so, with a 9-2 lead going into the 8th, the Phillies seemed to be gasping for life, in mid-collapse, their knees buckling, tongues hanging out, and vultures circling hungrily overhead. We were cooked.
Or… were we…
The 1-2 punch of Dodgers relief via Belisario and Broxton rolled out the welcome mat, and the Phils came storming into the house. Jayson Werth singled in Polanco and Sweeney. Benny Fresh doubled in J-Dub. Wilson Valdez singled in the Fresh Prince.
Casey Blake lended a helping hand by letting a Benny Fresh grounder point and wink at him as it scooted between his wickets and let two more runs score in the 9th. At that point, with a mere one run deficit with the bases loaded and Broxton failing to even record an out, the impossible seemed inevitable.
And so it was Chooch.
On a 1-1 pitch, Carlos Ruiz ka-slammed a double off the wall in right center and, well… Franzke got all shrill and excited again.
Shane Victorino showed up as a pinch hitter and had a stolen base, which was like a special guest poking his head through the door on a sitcom. The crowd went wild, and although his at bat was pretty much a nonfactor in the night’s insanity, it was good to see him holding a bat again. It will be even nice to see him use it eventually (he walked).
Chooch, or “Clootch” if you like to repeat jokes you hear on Daily News Live in your Phillies blog, has been unable and unwilling to cool off since taking over as an absolute monster earlier in the year. His brutalization of Jonathan Broxton continues and gives the Phillies some manic, slobbering momentum to ride on their way into the poor luck, inconsistency, and 3rd degree assault of Citi Field.