It was the top of the seventh inning, and the Phillies trailed, as they did all series in St. Louis, 3-1. With one out, Eric Kratz singled. Like strung-out addict looking for ever-cheaper highs, manager Charlie Manuel turned once more to the roster of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and with a countrified nod of the head, ushered in the beginning of the Steve Susdorf Era.
Susdorf had earnestly timed tiring Cardinals starter Lance Lynn in the dugout, and felt the warm embrace of a polite round of applause by the Best Fans in Baseball(TM), who heard that it was indeed the major league debut of this 27-year-old outfielder, called up to replace a concussed Dom Brown. He hit in the pinch for Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, the team's 2013 Stopper of Losing Streaks(TM), who threw yet another quality start, but one in which the Cardinals banged the ball around expertly for three runs in the third before sensibly deciding that would be quite enough for the evening, thankyouverymuch.
By unfairly and merely judging by this first at bat, the Susdorf Era of Phillies history will be relatively hairless and filled with multiple outs per batted ball, although the 1-4-6-3 double play Susdorf created at least had the grace to be touched by four Cardinals, rather than the 1-3 double play Phillies cleanup hitter Delmon Young - and Lord, how I wish I didn't have to write that particular combination of words - had squashed a nascent first inning rally.
Look, man. Look. Delmon Young, Laynce Nix, Darin Ruf, Eric Kratz, John Mayberry Jr., and Michael Young were in the lineup tonight. Along with Chase Utley, Kendrick was the best thing going for the Phillies by far. By far. And at least Jimmy Rollins was decent tonight. But he left the lone run scoring to Laynce Nix, who did not Power Swyng! his way to a strikeout, instead performing the exotic fielder's choice followed by scamper-around-the-bases. Chances of an actual win were remote.
Antonio Bastardo was good tonight, too, so if someone on the Phillies' travelling staff is clever enough, there's got to be a good way to trick Jonathan Papelbon into riding the elevators of the St. Louis Arch endlessly. If not, perhaps the extra $58 can go to paying off Detroit's stiffed pensioners.
Good Lord, the Phillies go to Detroit next. Them fellers can hit, too.