David Buchanan took the hill tonight, previously inhabited by the haunting etching of "TBA." Buchanan, with a shot to be a starter in 2015, does not have the stench of age or injury or Kyle Kendrick about him yet. He would not be throwing to Carlos Ruiz, who was allowed to rest after squatting for over five hours last night.
Brad Peacock would be the Astros' hurler, forced to pick up the pieces after a pregame seduction shook the foundations of Houston sports media.
While Aaron Nola was throwing his first 95 m.p.h. fastball in Reading, Buchanan was giving up singles and a run in the first inning, and Cole Hamels was, of course, sealed in the phantom zone between worlds after being claimed off waivers earlier in the day.
It was Jose Altuve who forced himself in to score after singling, stealing second, and motoring home on a Chris Carter one-bagger. Fortunately, Buchanan was able to escape the first inning much in the way we hope Cole can escape his predicament.
Godspeed, Cole. You are missed.
Ryan Howard woke up this morning, pounding a few protein shakes, then headed to the park, where he launched a two-run mortar in the bottom of the first to knock in Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins and continue his terrible rampage of effectiveness.
Peacock then began walking everybody; first Marlon Byrd, then Grady Sizemore, and then hurled a wild pitch so egregious that Ryan Howard was able to score from third. Wil Nieves knocked a sac fly to bring in Byrd, and with four first inning runs (soon to be five), the Phillies matched their run total for the previous 42 innings (in which they were outscored by opponents, 17-4).
The Astros decided to make Peacock's walks a part of the plan and had him deliver an intentional one to Cody Asche so he could face David Buchanan and end this madness, only to have Buchanan punch his first ever Major League hit with an RBI single that had to be reviewed (and upheld) because the second base umpire was temporarily destroyed during the chaos of Buchanan trying to go for two.
Jake Marisnick stumbled into a sac fly at some point to give the Astros two runs, but Chase Utley dropped the hammer on Peacock in the fourth with a three-run bomb that provided a brief tear in reality, and allowed for the faint cries of Cole Hamels to momentarily slip through.
The tear soon righted itself and the night sky was silent once more, as the scoreboard adjusted to read 8-2.
In the seventh, Buchanan started to buckle under the faint weight of the anonymous bat-holders in the bottom of the Houston lineup. Gregorio Petit and Marc Krauss spun singles out of the infield, and Jose Altuve grounded out hard enough to get one of them home, making it 8-3. Jake Diekman was summoned and he chucked a pitch at the backstop, shook off Krauss advancing to third, and calmly K'd Robbie Grossman before getting Chris Carter to hit a fly ball to Ben Revere.
A wild pitch allowed Revere - in the middle of a 4-for-5 night - to score after a triple the next inning, and with a seven-run lead at his back, Justin De Fratus burned through whoever Houston sent out to finish the game, leading to this rather intensely ascending Fangraph.
And somewhere within fabric of the universe, Cole Hamels is attempting to find his way off the waiver wire. Pursued by spectral beasts, his ghostly calls will go unheard until the Phillies can pinpoint his location and reel him in. Should he visit you in a dream this evening, kindly point him on his way. He will need all the guidance he can get in these tumultuous times.