Tonight was a fun game. I wish I could have been there. A bunch of my friends were there, somewhere way up in the nosebleeds, probably shootin’ the breeze and basking in the warmth of the aftermath of college-age tailgating. If only I had remembered to shell out the $10 for a discount ticket...
Yes, tonight was Jewish Heritage Night at the old ballpark, and just like every other summer, the JCC Camps at Medford shelled out to pay for tickets for all the staff members. And for the past three years, I’ve gone to the game, and the Phillies have won every single one. The first one was a drubbing of the Diamondbacks which saw my erstwhile favorite Phillie (or favorite erstwhile Phillie, whichever fits) Jayson Werth hit a monster home run. The next year was the infamous Broxton-gate game against the Dodgers, where I got drunk and wore a Phillies jersey and a San Francisco Giants hat to the game just to see how many Dodgers fans I could upset. And last year was that wild thunderstorm that delayed the eventual win against the Diamondbacks for a couple of hours and sent me, my brother, my dad, and my grandfather home rather disappointed…but at least we got to see John Mayberry, Jr. hit a home run. I didn’t go tonight, but still the Phillies won all the same. There’s something about Jewish Heritage night that just makes the Phillies win. And they should; we paid good money for those tickets.
The Phillies came out swinging tonight against Braves starter Mike Minor, and they got to him pretty quickly. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a double, and scored on a rather strange RBI double by Domonic Brown. Brown, presumably thinking centerfielder Michael Bourn was going to throw home to try and get Rollins at the plate, never once stopped on his trek to second base. Bourn, however, made the throw to second in plenty of time to nail Brown, but Martin Prado could not handle the throw. Brown would later score on a long home run to left-center off the bat of Ryan Howard, and the Phillies had an early 3-0 lead.
That score would carry through the next eight innings, as Minor settled down to blank the Phils for the next six frames. But even with a lack of scoring, a lot of good things still happened. Brown continued to show off his batting eye by working another walk, and he also threw out a runner trying for second base on a long single. Nate Schierholtz and Erik Kratz both had two hits as they continued their individual campaigns for regular playing time. And Ryan Howard killing a baseball against a left-handed pitcher is always nice to see. You know, good stuff.
The real story of tonight, though, was Cole Hamels, who tossed his first regular season shutout since September 1st, 2009 against the San Francisco Giants. It was the third complete game shutout by the Phillies starting staff so far this season, the first two going to…wait for it…Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick.
(I know, right? And to think we traded Joe Blanton away for a bucket of balls and some chewing gum. Nice one, Ruben!)
Now, where was I? Ahem…
Cole Hamels pitched like the $144 million southpaw we expected him to be. After throwing a stinker in Atlanta late last month, where he issued a career high 6 walks, he came out and pitched like the ace that the Phillies hoped would be stabilizing the rotation for the forseeable future. He was absolutely brilliant tonight, holding the Braves to 5 hits and striking out 6, needing 111 pitches to make it through the nine innings. Hamels did not issue a walk on the evening, and not a single Braves baserunner made it to second base.
Good things seem to happen on Jewish Heritage Night. Let’s hope it continues.