The Phillies are making my brain hurt. That's what they're doing.
In a crisp two hours and 15 minutes, the Phillies beat the Brewers 4-1 for their third straight win. Yeah. That actually happened.
I could talk about the home runs hit by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Utley's homer was his second in eight plate appearances, after not hitting a home run in his previous eleven thousand. (Look it up.) Rollins' homer snapped an 0-for-20 streak at the plate. Or I could talk about Jonathan Papelbon's 22nd save, his third in as many nights.
But I don't want to talk about those things. They're all boring compared to the absolute gem that Roberto Hernandez tossed tonight. He went eight strong innings, giving up just three measly hits and one lonely run. He struck out three and walked two. This was Hernandez's longest outing of the year, something made possible by his pitch count. He threw just 84 pitches. In eight full innings! That is shockingly, delightfully low. I wish I'd kept track of how many one-pitch outs he had tonight, because there were several. But I was too busy being *dazzled* by his portly prowess on the mound. I didn't think it was possible for Roberto Hernandez to mesmerize, but tonight he did. He Hernandmerized me.
Forget I said that last thing.
"But Liz," I can hear you saying to me in my head. "If Hernandez had only thrown 84 pitches in eight innings, why didn't he go out for the ninth?"
Funny thing about that. I don't know. I have no idea why Ryne Sandberg pulled Hernandez in favor of Papelbon in the ninth. Papelbon had pitched the previous two games. The starter had thrown fewer pitches than he could have ever dreamed. There was a three run cushion. At least let Hernandez go out there and *try* to get an out. Sandberg lets Cole Hamels throw 600 pitches every start and decide if he wants to keep pitching or come out of the game or if he wants just take a shit on the mound. I know Bert hasn't built up that kind of trust, but come on. He was brilliant tonight. He gave the Phillies eight innings of the best baseball he could pitch.
But it was Jonathan Papelbon who took the ninth inning, and he shut down the Brewers once again. Breathe in the air right now. Take a big deep sniff through your nostrils. You can practically smell Papelbon's trade value increasing. Or, you can smell it not going down and staying steady. For his part, Papelbon seems ready to say goodbye.
Jonathan Papelbon indicated his limited no-trade clause would not stand in the way of a trade to a contender this month.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) July 10, 2014
"Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That's mind-boggling to me," Papelbon said. "I think that's a no-brainer."— Matt Gelb (@magelb) July 10, 2014
You hear that, teams? Jonathan Papelbon is available immediately, and can be delivered right to your stadium via cannon, trebuchet, giant slingshot, or the fans of Philadelphia can all get together in one place and toss him into the air in your general direction. Free shipping! This is quite the deal! Just give us all your prospects!
If only he wouldn't announce his desire to be traded while simultaneously shitting on Chase Utley for publicly proclaiming his desire to stay in Philadelphia. Burn those bridges, Pappy! Burn 'em good! Of course, statements from these gentlemen can only be taken at face value. Who knows if they actually feel that way. But still... dick move on Papelbon's part.
It still feels so nice to type a winning score into the headline. I mean, I know this is just the eye of yet another hurricane of bad Phillies baseball. But I don't care. I like it.