Kyle Kendrick, Freddy Galvis, and a sleep deprived take on the Philadelphia Phillies
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
If you are a loyal reader of this site and were curious regarding my recent absence (and if so, thank you for your support!), there is a simple explanation: Almost two weeks ago, I was blessed to have not just one, but TWO, new children born into the world.
Please, direct your applause toward my wife. She was the one who did all the hard work.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Since that time, I have not devoted much mental energy towards the fate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Yes, I’ve still been checking the results every morning (by the way, there’s a word which has taken on a very different meaning lately), but I no longer find myself feeling too emotionally moved in one direction or another by the result of the game.
It’s helped that the Phillies have been playing on the West Coast this past week. With the games not regularly starting before 10 PM Eastern time, it would be a tough task to stay up and watch the games even without two newborns in the house.
At around 9:30 last night, I had some idle time in between feedings and I remembered that the Phillies were playing late. I turned on the game, laid down on my couch, and hoped that a combination of fatigue and the slow pace of baseball would allow me to drift off to a much-needed – if only temporary – slumber.
When I awoke nearly two hours later, I was pleased to discover that I had slept through most of Kyle Kendrick‘s stint in the game.
If you’ve never slept through a Kendrick start, I highly recommend it. Yes, you’ll inevitably be disappointed when you wake up and see the score, but at least you get to skip the slow, soul-draining agony that are often caused by his appearances.
Sure enough, I saw that Kendrick had Kendricked his way through another start, leaving the Phillies in a bit of a hole in the top of the eighth inning. I was ready to just turn the game off, but as soon as I awoke from my slumber, the Phillies’ offense appeared to do the same.
Freddy Galvis. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
First, Ben Revere did what he does best: Stroke a single into center field and then steal second base. (Can we start calling that a Revere Double?) Then, Freddy Galvis followed up with a beautiful drag bunt single that gave the Phillies runners on the corners with nobody out.
Galvis’ single, his second hit of the night, continued his recent stretch of good offensive play. His .819 OPS is an excellent figure for a strong defensive middle infielder. It also makes me wonder why he was such a big pile of suck earlier in the year.
Heading into the season, there was hope that the Phillies might have a competent bench, and Galvis was a big part of that. It seemed a given that he would provide good defense at every infield position, and the hope was that he’d contribute JUST enough on offense to keep from being a liability there.
Instead, Galvis spent most of the season either suffering from some sort of malady or showing a complete inability to hit major league pitching. His .158 OPS in the first half almost made us wistful for the days of Michael Martinez. (Well, maybe not. I’m sleep deprived, but not completely insane.)
In recent weeks, Galvis has apparently re-discovered how to hit, and the Phillies will likely once again head into 2015 thinking that they have a solid bench piece on their hands.
Anyway, the Phillies had the tying run at the plate, and with their 3-4-5 hitters due up, it seemed assured that a rally was forthcoming. (Just kidding! Even in my half-asleep state, it seemed a good bet that the Phillies would find a way to botch this situation.)
I assumed that they’d either have a runner thrown out at the plate (a Phillies specialty in 2014) or hit into a double play. Instead, Padres pitcher Dale Thayer – and his odd facial hair – blew away Marlon Byrd, Darin Ruf, and Maikel Franco to preserve the lead for San Diego.
Dale Thayer. Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
At that point, I turned off the game, feeling fairly confident in how it would end. A few minutes later, as I was feeding a bottle to my son, I learned that my pessimism was rewarded. Phillies’ reliever Cesar Jimenez removed all doubt of the outcome in the bottom of the eighth by surrendering a three-run home run to Wil Venable.
Now that they’re done somehow losing a series to the Padres, the Phillies will continue their pointless West Coast road trip when they take on the Oakland Athletics this weekend. Looking at the Athletics, I realize that things could be worse.
Instead of being hopelessly out the race, the Phillies could be busy playing themselves out of contention like the A’s. And if these games were meaningful, I’d probably force myself to watch, even though I’d know that I’d likely end up both exhausted and heartbroken afterwards.
So here’s to Kyle Kendrick and the rest of the 2014 Philadelphia Phillies! Your futility may not have enthused the home town fans, but you’ve certainly made the stretch run easier to take for a parent.