The Phillies, who were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention
earlier today in April held out for an entertaining, if not altogether convincing, win over the Washington Badattitudinals.
Cole Hamels pitched a workmanlike six plus innings, before running out of gas in the seventh. His final tally of five strikeouts, three walks, eight hits and four runs makes his performance sound worse than it was. If he hadn't appeared in the seventh at all, as would have been wise for a non-contending team in September with a solid lead and bullpen, he would have exited with a much cleaner line.
The Bnats struck first. Denard Span led off with a single to center, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly from Jayson Werth. Hamels settled down then, though, and pitched through and around trouble into the seventh.
Meanwhile, in the top of the fifth, John Mayberry Jr lined a one-out solo homerun to tie the game. Hamels followed with a single, Cesar Hernandez singled, and Chase Utley walked to load the bases... for Carlos Ruiz. Now, since August 1st, Ruiz has been fantastic :.348/.400/.539/.939 line in 127 PAs. He is leading the majors in average with runners in scoring position. Probably just padding his RBIs, but still. Tonight was no different, as he finished with two hits, but the big one came there in the fifth. A three-run, bases clearing double over Werth's head to cap the rally at four runs.
The Phils would add an insurance run in the seventh, after Jimmy Rollins led off with a double, and Utley drove him in with a single.
In the bottom of the seventh, though, Hamels' aforementioned troubles surfaced. He had struggled, as mentioned, but was still shy of 100 pitches, so leaving him in to face Scott Hairston wasn't altoge.... wait, who? Scott Hairston?
Scott Hairston has a 2.000/8.000/10.000 line against the Phillies. He literally gets two homeruns in every plate appearance. Even Scott Franzke recognizes this.
Hairston, of course, led off with a single. Span singled. Ryan Zimmerman singled, loading the bases. Huh. Who saw that coming. (Note, the lack of question mark signifies this as a rhetorical question. Everyone saw it coming. Everyone, that is, except Ryne Sandberg).
With one out, Ian Desmond hit a sac fly, scoring Span; and Bryce Harper singled to right and I don't exactly understand what happened next; but when the dust cleared, the Phillies were suddenly terrible and in third place and... oh, excuse me, I was dreaming. Anyway, no-body knows what happens, but someday scientists hope to reconstruct the sequence of events by examining the background radiation of the universe. In any case, however it happened, Harper was standing on second, and two more runs had scored. 5-4 game.
That one run lead was enough, though, if only just. Justin De Fratus, B.J. Rosenberg, Jake Diekman and Lights On Papelbon closed out the game, although not without excitement. Papelbon, for his part, "earned" his 27th "save," by allowing a double and a walk, before being gifted three outs by Rollins-esque first-pitch hitting by the Bnats and Rollins-esque fielding by Rollins.
Fangraph of Hold Your Goddamn Horses, Eagles, Baseball's Not Done Yet:
Confession time: Today is one of the first days off I have had in several months, and I was happy to get the chance to write more baseball for you wonderful folks. I love doing this, and I'm grateful that Liz has been patient with me. While our work season isn't over yet, winter, as they say, is coming (it froze Thursday!).