The awfulness of the Phillies and the awesomeness of baseball all crystallized in one fine moment in South Philadelphia tonight. It was the bottom of the seventh inning, the Nats were up 1-0. They had taken the lead on a Rickey Henderson special from Michael Taylor (leading off the game with a home run). After that, Gio Gonzalez and Jerome Williams traded 0s. Both looked good, though Williams looked better, as he struck out 6 and only allowed 5 baserunners other than Taylor.
The Phillies offense had been pretty useless until the seventh inning. The perfect example was the start of the first, when Ben Revere singled and then proceeded to get picked off first. With the offense this team has, outs on the basepaths are just stupid.
In the bottom of the seventh, roughly 75 minutes after the game started (if that), the Phillies loaded the bases with no hits. Grady Sizemore and Cameron Rupp both walked and Andres Blanco (turning 31 tomorrow!) was hit by a pitch. Out goes Gonzalez and, pinch hitting for Luis Garcia (who had spelled Williams in the top of the seventh), in comes Cesar Hernadnez.
Think about that for a minute. The Phillies are in a position to tie or take the lead in the late innings against an NL East rival at home, and they bring in Cesar Hernandez to hit with the bases loaded. That's the 2015 Phillies in a nutshell.
But then baseball happened. Showing everyone in the stadium just how random and beautiful the game is, Hernandez hit a hard line drive just out of the reach of Nationals' first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and two runs scored. The crowd of 19,047 fans (probably double the number who actually were there), the lowest in CBP history (see below for what that looks like), roared because the Phils took the lead. Thanks to the ever-clutch Cesar Hernandez.
Two more runs scored thanks to a Freddy Galvis single and a Chase Utley sac fly, and the Phillies had a 4-1 lead. Ken Giles came in and hit 96 a few times on the radar, including striking out Bryce Harper on a filthy slider with a man on second to end the inning. Jonathan Papelbon then closed it out in the top of the ninth, with thanks to a nifty play up the middle from, you guessed it, Cesar Hernandez.
As the title indicates, Cesar Hernandez for MVP.
Fangraph of .500 baby!