Jimmy Rollins: Best smile or bestest smile? Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Jimmy Rollins has been in the news quite a lot this Phillies season. Tonight, though, all the news was unequivocally good. He joined Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, and Ed Delahanty as the only Phillies to reach 2000 hits. His wife Johari and adorable baby daughter Camryn were there to watch it. Incidentally, Camryn was wearing a "Little Miss Rollins" outfit, which just added to her already massive supply of cute and adorable.
Beyond that, this game had long stretches of absolutely boring baseball, occasionally punctuated by something totally cracked out or exciting. It's a Phillies-Reds game, so there always has to be something weird.
Of course, the game was boring because Mat(t) Latos and Kyle Kendrick were pitching well. Latos and Kendrick aren't the most exciting pitchers to watch. Even when they pitch well, it's sort of like watching grass grow. This is approximately the 937th Kendrick start I've recapped this year, and I can say that neither dominant Kyle or horrible Kyle showed up today. Mediocre Kyle was out in full force, with his slow tempo and three strikeouts. He was saved by excellent defense, though nothing could save him from Jay Bruce jacking *another* homer, this time for two runs.
Mat(t) Latos' only made a few mistakes, and they resulted in one of the more insane things I've seen this season. Or "seen". In the top of the fourth, Chase Utley doubled, and then Latos hit Howard (with a pitch, not with his fists, of course). John Mayberry Jr walked to load the bases, which brought Domonic Brown to the plate. And then, dear readers, the unreliable internet speed of Southern Connecticut decided to make my night difficult, as I missed the rest of the top of the fourth. (Seriously, why am I paying AT&T U-Verse all that money for their "top" "speed" "internet"?!?!) This is what I gather happened: Domonic Brown walked which scored a run, and then Nate Schierholtz lined to center. Drew Stubbs trapped the ball and tossed to Phillips at second, forcing out Mayberry. The throw went home as well, which would have forced out Howard had Ryan Hanigan actually stepped on the plate. However, the ruling was that Stubbs made the catch, and Mayberry was the second out instead of the first. Regardless of how it happened (and the Phillies booth spent more than 50% of the remaining game time discussing every aspect of the play), the Phillies only scored one run with the bases loaded and one out. It was the only run they'd score tonight.
Also of note tonight: Erik Kratz has some otherworldly throw-em-out skills. He continues to make insane throws from behind the plate, including one to third base tonight to help Kendrick out of a jam. Additionally of note: the Phillies young bullpen guys love themselves some walks. BJ Rosenberg, Jake Diekman, and Justin De Fratus all pitched in the eighth inning, and each walked one batter. No runs scored, though, and De Fratus left them loaded. I'm really happy to see him back and healthy, since he was one of the young bullpen guys I was most excited to see all the way back in February. Not of note: Ty Wigginton pinch hitting for Domonic Brown with one out in the top of the ninth, and Polanco pinch hitting for Schierholtz to end the game. If you can make sense of those things, you're way ahead of me.
The outcome of the game matters less than what Rollins did tonight and has done over the course of his career. Congratulations to him on reaching such a milestone. He'll go down as the best shortstop in Phillies history, and deservedly so. Watching him play superior defense and turn double plays with Chase Utley are several of my favorite baseball things.
This Fangraph does not adequately represent the awesomeness of Jimmy Rollins. But that's ok. His awesomeness can't be represented by just one Fangraph anyway.