Even after tagging Chris Ray for four runs, letting sloppy defense run up the score, clawing our way through the standings, Utley’s thumb, Ryan’s ankle, Shane’s abdomen, “Spygate,” kids drinking beer, and finally scoring a run in Citi Field, the Phillies broke up the concrete widely enough last night to slip into first place for the National League Wild Card, and made one thing perfectly clear:
We don’t want it.
“We’re trying to win our division.” — Roy Oswalt, casting a look of utter disgust on the standings.
Phillies 9, Giants 3
The Giants in no mood to fart around tonight. They had to have been aware of the Phillies record of late and their even better record at home, so tagging Roy Oswalt for two runs was a bit of a statement.
“We will not be toyed with,” they said.
“Shut up,” the Phillies replied, and scored four runs between the 5th and 6th innings. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino were knocking two-run base hits like they’ve been doing it all year or something, and then wouldn’t you know it, they set the table for Chooch to come storming to the plate with the bases loaded in the 8th.
He was hungry.
In fact, the noticeable also-ran in the lineup was Chase Utley, a guy in his first game back since being the Phillies’ latest casualty (at the time) back in June. Obviously, Chase has some leeway to assimilate himself back into playing every day, but I think I have been patient enough and can honestly say that if he doesn’t have at least 6 RBI tonight he should be locked in a broom closet.
As I was explaining with mindless shouting in the background in the latest Sports Talk Soup, it is all about runs. The starting pitching, represented tonight by a solid Roy Oswalt, can only carry so much before collapsing from exhaustion. If anyone has the stomach, just ask Cole Hamels what it feels like to have quality start after quality start erased by a complete absence of offense dynamo.
So Oswalt took the reins and gave us seven innings, seven strikeouts, and three earned runs, but the lineup was there to back him with nine of our own–the same number of runs that wasn’t enough to beat the Dodgers a few days ago.
Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin combined to allow one hit and strike out three for the final two innings, proving that the less we see of the bullpen, the less time they have to ruin everything.
I hopped in an elevator the other day and a woman glanced at the Victorino shirsey I was sweating through.
“We… do we still have a chance?” she asked hopefully.
For only a nanosecond, I thought she meant romantically, but it did not take much longer than it would have taken a normal person for me to realize she meant the Phils and a shot at 2010 glory.
“Sure,” I replied. “Just gotta keep scoring runs.”
She got off the elevator no doubt comforted by my words and spent the remainder of her life wondering about that majestic, handsome young man she once met in an elevator and offered her the inspiration to believe again. Its an effect I have on people.