I was reminded of this tonight, as I biked home one shot deeper than I planned to be.
Fuck all of you. Ryan Howard fucking rules.— Mike Meech (@meechone) September 20, 2012
That shot was courtesy of a wager I'd placed - should Ryan Howard make the third out in the bottom of the ninth, or as I put it, "Swing at a breaking pitch that hits him in the back foot," I would get to leave shotless. But should the Big Piece somehow come through, then yeah, fine, guys. I'll stay and do another with you. But it's not gonna happen, becau
[.gif courtesy of the wondrous Bill Baer]
All right, get the server's attention.
But it wasn't always Ryan Howard walk-offs and Ben Revere stomps - the Phillies may have actually broken a curse on this very night.
Phillies are 0-7 and have been outscored 46-14 on Wednesday this season.— Bob Vetrone Jr. (@BoopStats) May 28, 2014
Once more, unholy, frustrating hell was sweeping across Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies were riding the annals of history into tonight's match-up with Colorado - first, a no-hitter from Josh Beckett; next, a home run from Ben Revere. What sort of baseball history would happen for/to them tonight?
It turns out, not much; though Jimmy Rollins took a step further toward surpassing Mike Schmidt on the all time Phillies hit list. But there was some baseball played rather close to the chest.
Roberto Hernandez got the start tonight, and pushed through two scoreless innings before a Justin Morneau dinger to lead off the third. A one-out walk to Corey Dickerson led to an RBI double for Willie Rosario, and the 2-0 rout was on.
Only instead of continuing, it stopped, thanks to Hernandez getting two more outs. And the very next inning, Ryan Howard punched an RBI single to score Chase Utley, who had doubled recently, bisecting the deficit.
Hernandez allowed a single and a walk to start the fourth, then equalized himself with a pair of strikeouts. With runners on first and second, Corey Dickerson was ruled safe at second base on a Charlie Culberson ground ball fielded by Utley, but the replay showed that the umpire were ENTIRELY DEAD WRONG SO WHAT THE oh, Howard beckoned Sandberg out of the dugout and got the call reversed.
The next inning, the Phillies made the reversal stand up after a lead-off single and a pair of eye-rolling K's from Rollins and Utley left Ben Revere on first with two outs. But after an intentional walk of Howard, Marlon Byrd got a ground ball out of the infield and Revere crossed the plate to tie the game.
Hernandez allowed two base runners and an out in the sixth, and Ryne Sandberg decided that this was when he wanted to bring in Antonio Bastardo, who walked Morneau before inducing a ground-out from Michael Cuddyer.
The Phillies were harmless in the bottom of the inning, but in the sixth, things got a mite squirrely. Bastardo put two runners on with a pair of ill-advised walks and Carlos Ruiz welcomed them to scoring position with an errant pick-off attempt.
So Mike Adams came in, which has not traditionally been a good experience. But he got Carlos Gonzalez to ground into a double play, and expertly struck out Troy Tulowitzki on a swinging strike that Tulo didn't believe was a swing or a strike.
"YOU CAN'T STRIKE ME OUT," Tulowitzki cried from his knees, fists raised at the Philadelphia skyline. "I'M TROY TULOWITZKI!!!!!"
He did, though. He struck him out.
Jake DIekman allowed his first home run of the year to D.J. LeMahieu one inning later, giving the Rockies the 3-2 lead as the game entered sweaty-palms time.
The Phillies came up empty in the bottom of the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon's body was free of sores enough to successfully plug the top of the ninth. That led to the bottom of the ninth, a time when the Phillies have remained decidedly unheroic.
Cesar Hernandez led off with a fly out, and Tony Gwynn, Jr. kept the party going with an easy grounder to second. But instead of a lazy second out, Josh Rutledge hurled the baseball over Morneau's head at first, and Gwynn was aboard. Ben Revere slapped the crap out of a single, and Jimmy Rollins, after being given new life by Tulowitzki dropping a foul pop-up (clearly still infuriated by the K), popped out in fair territory for the second out.
Chase Utley stepped in, heart pumping with napalm. He went 3-0, got the green light, plucked a few fouls, then did what we assumed he would do and continued his 11-year folk legend with a game-tying single to right.
"Oh, what's the best that could happen?" I sneered. "Chase ties the game, and then Howard strikes out?" (You'll notice I call Chase by his first name as if we are friends, and Howard by his last as if we are mere acquaintances. Very catty.)
In stepped Ryan Howard, who strikes out a lot. He drew a bit of a count, then went nuts on a Boone Logan offering that won the game by sailing over the wall in left center. Ben Revere strutted over home plate like a champ. Watch the full replay here.
And just like that, the Phillies were a mere four games under .500. Come out of your holes, Philadelphia. You can watch Phillies replays at work tomorrow.