Today has been quite a day for the Philadelphia Phillies. Young clearing waivers and the claiming of Casper Wells are but footnotes. They are distant memories. And today's 12-1 win over the Cubs isn't the big headline. That distinction belongs to none other than Chase Utley, who made me a happy woman today by signing a two-year contract extension.
But this isn't about Chase Utley. Sadly. This is about today's 12-1 pounding of the Cubs. After losing in annoying/expected fashion in the ninth inning last night, the Phillies came back in a big way today. Three home runs, five players with multi-hit games, and several decent pitching performances powered the Phillies to a decisive win. Granted, it's the Cubs. They start several players every day with averages hovering around/below .220. But a win is still a win, and just because the Phillies were playing the enfeebled Cubs didn't make it any less fun to watch.
Let's start with pitching. Ethan Martin notched his first major league win today, allowing just one run, four hits, and three walks over five innings of work. He needed 95 pitches to do it, which is too many, but he made it five innings when I was pretty sure he would not. He got into some serious trouble in the fifth with runners on second and third and only one out. He got the next two batters to pop up, and just like that he was out of the woods and on the way to his first win. Zach Miner seems to be the Phillies choice for long man out of the bullpen, and he pitched two hitless innings with just one walk. Cesar Jimenez and Raul Valdes closed it out with an inning each. Valdes lowered his ERA to 7.59 today, which I felt the need to mention because his ERA is still really, really high.
The Phillies' offense was pretty fantastic today. It's worth mentioning that while the Cubs on the whole are not very good, today's starter, Jeff Samardzija, is actually not bad. The Phillies put a hurting on him today, though. The Phillies scored nine runs on 11 hits off him in just 3 1/3 innings. The highlights are many, so here they are in handy list form:
-- Cody Asche had the club's only three-hit day. He fell a triple short of the cycle, which means he hit his very first major league home run (a two run shot). After a very slow start, he seems to be heating up in a big way. I am slowly getting used to the fact that he looks about 12 years old.
-- Chase Utley had two hits and a walk today, and hit an RBI double. After the game, he did his contract extension press conference in a very nice green striped shirt that made him look even more handsome and dashing than he normally does. I LOVE YOU CHASE.
-- The Majestic Darin Ruf didn't seem to care that his on-base streak ended last night. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and a two-run home run.
-- Carlos Ruiz is starting to square up the ball a bit better and had two hits today. Of course, one of them was a run-scoring bunt single, so my previous sentence doesn't necessarily apply, though it's still true.
-- Michael Martinez also had two hits today, for some reason, probably because God is fucking with us.
-- Domonic Brown and John Mayberry each had a hit. Brown's was a double that scored two runs, and he's had a hit in each of his three games since returning from the disabled list.
-- And for the hit that scored a 10 on the "what-the-fuck-o-meter", John McDonald hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to bring the score to 12-1. I had no idea that John McDonald could do anything besides hit into double plays. I mean who knew!?
On the Cubs end, I'm pretty sure that Nate Schierholtz is trolling Joecatz specifically now. He scored the only Cubs run on a solo shot in the fourth inning. Besides that, their bats were quiet. Martin, Miner, Jiminez, and Valdes held them to just six hits.
Today's game served as a much needed but periodic reminder that the Phillies aren't always mind-blowingly terrible, and can in fact be very good at times. And also Chase Utley is awesome.