Jose Contreras Saves First Game in 1396th Inning of Career
By Justin Klugh
“It was a tough situation at that moment, but I was able to save the game. That’s the most important thing,” said Jose Contreras, as behind him, several members of the Phillies medical staff chased down and successfully threw a butterfly net over a struggling Brad Lidge before dragging him to the 15-day DL.
It was a tough situation, as Contreras was hustling into a spot that most pitchers have found impossible to fill in the last two years: Closing for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Whether its a floundering Lidge or a metal chair, the position of “Phillies closer” has been a carnival of cloddishness, as the same handful of guys trips and stumbles over each other in a vain attempt to emulate the immaculateness of 2008, but can only muster the occasional spurts of success, like six desperate hamsters all squealing to run on the same wheel.
And yesterday, as Joe Blanton anxiously watched from the dugout, hoping against hope that the “0” in his record could finally shift to a “1,” Jose Contreras closed the door on the Brewers for not only Big Joe’s first 2010 victory, but the first save in his own 22 year career.
And it would have been the highlight of the game, had Corey Hart not accidentally kicked the ball over the right field wall while trying to field it.
Phillies 10, Brewers 6
Paul Hoover has gone crazy, and the brunt of his insanity has been taken out on baseballs.
If you, like the rest of baseball, are wondering who Paul Hoover is, he’s the back up to the back up catcher for the Phillies, a career minor leaguer with offensive numbers smaller than appearances in major league games. Until now.
Now, Hoover has singled and doubled his way to infamy, becoming an offensive geyser in the last two games, and working himself into the copy of MLB.com: “A five-run seventh inning sparked by Chris Hoover and Shane Victorino put the game out of reach to help Joe Blanton cruise.”
Boy, I sure hope some intern got canned for that.
Game two has taught us the value of depth. There was every reason to assume that with Chooch sidelined and Brian Schneider falling into a cement mixer or however he hurt himself, we would be lacking in the catching department. Paul Hoover has gripped this myth in both hands and choked the life out of it. Is he going to consistently double down the left field line?
How the hell should I know? The point is, he’s put in two great games, and with the Phils saying Chooch could be ready to go by tomorrow, I’d say even if he runs out onto the field today, trips over first base, face plants and chokes to death on his own tongue, he’s done a fantastic job filling in. Or at least a good enough job to have people remember what his name is.
Depth was again visible via Joe Blanton. The dude has never gotten to reap the benefits of run support, until yesterday, when the lineup–notably Shane Victorino and aforementioned Hoover–began piling on the hits. He went seven, didn’t get beat up, struck out five, walked one, and finally recorded that elusive first win.
So, Contreras’ first ever save was a solid exclamation point, especially since the guy who threw the first seven innings was probably sitting in the dugout digging his finger nails into the wood.
Phillies-Brewers, 8:05 pm, Miller Park. Cole will be looking to stop the almighty Corey Hart (has he always been… good… ?) in an attempt to sweep the Brewers out of their own home. Meanwhile, Brad Lidge quietly inserts needles into himself as a nearby doctor smiles and nods.
“Now’s my chance!” Antonio Bastardo exclaims, hopping over Paul Hoover’s corpse on his way to the mound.
Baseball is weird.