Reid Brignac. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Reid Brignac is the third man to hold the backup shortstop position for the Phillies in 2014. After Jayson Nix and Freddy Galvis failed (spectacularly, I might add), the Phillies called up the veteran journeyman to see if he could do any better.
He has indeed done better than his predecessors (admittedly, they did not set the bar especially high), because despite looking absolutely overmatched at the plate at times, he has also delivered a couple of walk-off hits at the plate in the past two weeks.
On May 30th, his 14th inning single won the game for the Phillies. That hit seemed like somewhat of a fluke since he had struck out in his two previous at bats, and went on to strike out in his next four after that. He’s struck out in 38% of his plate appearances this season.
So it was only natural that last night, in the ninth inning of a game in which neither team appeared all that interested in scoring, Brignac hit a walk-off three-run home run.
Brignac’s stretches of incompetence, interrupted by brief bursts of heroics, prompted this Twitter exchange:
Cole Hamels. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Brignac wouldn’t have even gotten a chance to win the game if not for the excellent performance by Cole Hamels. Those people who say that pitcher wins are overrated can point to last night’s game as an example.
A pitcher can’t perform much better than Hamels did, striking out eleven Padres in eight scoreless innings. But since Padres starter Tyson Ross was almost as dominant, Hamels was left without a win. In a post game interview, Hamels downplayed the lack of a win. After all, he should be used to it by now:
The Phillies now have an opportunity to sweep the series this afternoon, but we probably won’t be getting another pitchers’ duel. Neither starter (Eric Stults and Kyle Kendrick) has been pitching especially well lately. Chances are, more runs will be scored in the first inning of tonight’s game than were scored on Wednesday.