Phillies record-setting games: Jayson Werth has 8 RBI

Jayson Werth, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

It was a big night for the Phillies right fielder

Opening Day 2008 was the first time in Jayson Werth‘s career where he was an opening day starting outfielder. In his first five seasons with the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Phillies, Werth had only played in one opening day, striking out in a pinch-hit appearances for Los Angeles in 2004.

Even though he was set as the opening day starter, Werth had a lot to prove to stick in the lineup. The Phillies had signed Geoff Jenkins and plugged him into the starting lineup for the next six games after opening day, so nothing was guaranteed for Werth.

The 28-year-old had a strong first month of the season platooning with Jenkins, hitting five home runs, five doubles, and driving in 13 runners in 23 games, 18 of which he started.

Then on May 16, Werth had a career game that pretty much set him up as the full-time starter.

In the bottom of the second inning against the Blue Jays (his former team), Werth hit a three-run opposite-field home run deep into the first deck in right field off David Purcey. Werth’s seventh home run of the year gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead over Toronto at home.

As Werth rounded the bases, Chris Wheeler said “Charlie Manuel talks about him all the time and if he ever figures it out he could be a big-time home run hitter in the big leagues.”

Good foreshadowing, Wheels.

In the next inning, Werth came up with the bases loaded and had a swing that was a mirror image of his home run earlier, launching a ball deep into the right-centerfield seats to make it an 8-0 lead in the third.

It was Werth’s first of six career grand slams. But he wasn’t done yet, swinging for history later in the game.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies brought up a graphic showing the most RBIs in a game for a Phillie. The graphic showed Werth one RBI behind tying the team record of eight, which hadn’t been done since Mike Schmidt in the 18-16 game against Chicago in 1976.

Werth would turn on a fastball and deposit it into the left-centefield flowerbeds for his team-record eighth RBI. The Phillies would win 10-2 thanks to Werth and a solid start from Jamie Moyer.

Werth remains tied with Schmidt (1976), Willie Jones (1958), Gavvy Cravath (1915), and Kitty Bransfield (1910) for the record eight RBI in a game.

This is really the breakout game for Jayson Werth that would lead him to an All-Star game, a championship ring in Philadelphia, and a monster contract with the Washington Nationals.

Werth certainly ruffled some feathers in Philadelphia by leaving for Washington, but he’s been received well since retiring and returning to Philadelphia.