I promised myself sometime during one of the Phillies' recent losing streaks (and there have been a few) that when I recapped wins, I was only going to talk about good things. There were going to be plenty of opportunities to talk about the bad things in the many, many losses to come, and I wanted to focus on the positives when I could. By the ninth inning tonight, I was disappointed because there had been some good baseball things to talk about. But they were going to lose and those things wouldn't matter so much.
I was wrong.
Let me back up. The Phillies struck first (in the first) with a solo home run from Chase Utley, The Man himself. It was a no doubter, and the ball left the stadium very quickly, like its pants were on fire, if a baseball were to have pants. The Rockies came back in the second, capitalizing on some less-than-sharp pitching from Cliff Lee. Wilin Rosario hit the first pitch he saw into the crowd to lead off the inning, tying the game. After two straight singles and a sac bunt, Dexter Fowler singled in another run, bringing the score to 2-1.
And then, many innings of stranded runners. In the fifth inning, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs. When Michael Young came to the plate, though, you knew there could only be one outcome. He turned no outs into two outs with his 18th double play of the year, but a run did score to tie the game. He doesn't get an RBI for that, and rightly so because when you make two outs with just one hit you shouldn't get anything.
Around the sixth inning, I decided to make myself some bacon. None of that thin cut crappy stuff. When I eat bacon, it's the black label maple flavored kind. I put it in the oven and the smell overtook my house. I consoled myself -- recapping yet another loss would be easier with bacon. I took my first bite right before Jimmy Rollins doubled in the seventh inning.
Cliff Lee went seven innings, allowed two runs on nine hits and no walks, and he struck out six. He hasn't won in six straight decisions now, but he kept the Phillies in the game after a dicey start. Justin De Fratus, who didn't have his best stuff tonight, allowed the go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning. Then, giant sidearmer Jake Diekman came into the game to pitch the ninth. After an impressive and slightly rage filled outing last night, Diekman mowed 'em down tonight, too. No hits, two strikeouts, and more swoon-worthy velocity. According to Matt Gelb, Diekman's velocity has been increasing monthly since June. /fans self
The ninth inning is almost a blur. I ate more bacon as Erik Kratz hit a double down the left field line. John Mayberry sacrificed him to third, and then a red hot Chooch hit a double to score him and tie the game. Jimmy Rollins was intentionally walked, which I do not understand, but happened anyway. Michael Young, obviously feeling bad for his bases loaded double play in the fifth and his 0-for-4 night (to that point, at least), came to the plate and promptly singled Chooch home to win the game. My arms flailed in a decidedly muppet fashion and I shouted with delight.
Hearing Harry sing "High Hopes" at Citizens Bank Park may be rarer these days, but it will never, ever get old.
Behold the Fangraph of difference-making bacon.