Friends, a confession: I did not get to watch this game.
Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration. I saw some of the game, and I listened to the last two thrilling innings. But here's the caveat: first, I was watching the game without any sound at the excellent Prism Brewery in North Wales, PA. If you're still in the area, or if you get a chance to visit, I seriously recommend a visit -- it's delightful. As a result of this delight, I'm currently in a sleepy, hazy morass, trying to make sense of Larry Andersen's "color" commentary, particularly how to differentiate it from Scott Franzke's deeply helpful reports of the game. They are merging together right now. Clearly my intake of the game was particularly poor. But duty calls, friends, and I shall answer.
So, instead of pretending to give you a comprehensive vision of what the game was about, I'm going to align aspects of the game based on the kinds of beers I've had tonight, from worst to first. Much like the Phillies' game tonight, there isn't one particular beer that is bad, but there are incrementally increasing levels of tastiness.
1) Shady Blonde Ale, 4.5 ABV, brewed with Blood Orange: Cliff Lee's pitching performance
Cliff Lee did not cover the stat sheet in glory tonight. He did pitch seven innings, which is great, but he also only struck out three and walked two. Walking two guys, for Cliff Lee, is like a normal pitcher walking five guys. It's fairly startling. When Cliff Lee gets Steve Blass Disease, we'll know because he'll throw three walks in seven innings.
The Shady Blond is, according to the fine folks at the Prism Brewery, "a refreshing break from the norm and a perfect way to welcome the warmer weather back into our lives." In this way, it is fairly similar to Cliff Lee. Similar also to Cliff Lee's performance is that, while good, the Shady Blonde was not tremendous. Fortunately, like Cliff Lee, it did not need to be: Shady Blonde's comparables, like a cold lager or a colder Miller, were fine but not equal, much like Cliff Lee's opposite number, Trevor Cahill, was fine but not equal with a five inning, five strikeout, four walk performance. Oh, and he let up a run, while Lee blanked the D-Backs.
Refreshing, light, and pleasantly surprising in its aftertaste. Shady Blonde Ale, you are Cliff Lee's pitching performance on May 11, 2013.
2) Love is Evol Special Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, brewed with Strawberries and Jalapenos, you are the offense tonight.
The beers I'm describing, despite all appearances, weren't sweet. The fruit included complicated the flavor, but by no means did it overpower the beer; this wasn't like drinking a soda or anything. The Love is Evol Special Pale Ale was the best example of this phenomenon. You could certainly taste, behind the rich beer, a powerful hit of strawberries, and a lingering spiciness, but it was always behind the hoppy taste of the beer itself. Every so often, you have to watch yourself and reconsider the basic framework of the beer: it's a rich, bitter beer, but it's also, like, strawberry-y. These two things are happening at once.
Like the beer, the Phillies' offense clicked tonight in a way that continually required doubletakes. Ben Revere got on base three times out of four. The team as a whole took six walks, compared to 9 strikeouts, which is not a terrible ratio! There were manufactured runs, but they felt necessary at times, instead of utterly and profoundly stupid. In short, the offense worked, which was a consistent surprise. Sure they had their issues tonight, but both the patience and the execution were in effect tonight, and if that isn't at least a bit confounding to you, then I accuse you of not watching a single 2013 game to this point in the season.
J'accuse, you liar!
3) Chemo Sabe Black Wheat Ale, 8.5 ABV, brewed with wasabi, you are the 8th and 9th innings tonight.
Here are the only two innings I paid careful attention to, and here is my unexpurgated reaction:
Okay, looks like it's going to an easy last couple of innings. Oh, hey, seems like they got guys on the corners -- good time to bring in Papelbon. And they did! Okay, so that monstrosity Cody Ross got an RBI on a sac fly, but Paps got Montero out, and now he gets to have a clean slate.
Wow, this is a long inning. Bet the Phillies are going to score some runs! ...oh, haha, whoops.
Okay, bottom of the ninth. Baseball! And...it's going bad. Oh no, guys on the corners again. One out, but already a bunch of hard hit balls, and we're only up by two, and it's Hinske at the plate! ...oh, he got Hinske out! And now he's got two strikes on Pollock! All that's left is to wait for Franzke's patented "Swing and a miss!" strikeout call. Any second now. Any...second...now. Any...oh come on, stop throwing high cheese! ...yes! There it is! Best ending ever!
And now, here's my unexpurgated experience of drinking the Chemo Sabe:
Oh, it's in a goblet. Neat, but intimidating. I know I chose this in part because of the cancer proceeds thing, so I hope it wasn't a reckless choice. It'd be real bad if it just tasted like pure wasabi. Is that a possibility? Okay, first sip....
...whoa, that's, uh, that's the best.
Both were pleasantly stressful, but I knew that only after the fact. Both also packed a mild kick -- the wasabi for the beer, and Papelbon's 94 MPH fastball for the ninth. And both left me feeling no pain.
In the end, I have no moral to draw from these comparisons, except that beer is tasty and is made even tastier by a Phillies win. Now that they've managed to avoid the sweep, maybe they can get really precocious and go on an extended run. Hey, who knows, right?