The Phillies won. The Phillies scored five runs. Ryan Howard dingered for the second time in as many games.
Those are three statements that, at least on the surface, should add up to a compelling game, yet, for some reason, it wasn't. No doubt the fact that it took place on a Sunday afternoon contributed to the lack of energy I felt watching the game, but Jerome Williams's continuation as an unspectacularly effective pitcher certainly didn't help.
Don't get me wrong; that Jerome Williams has been as good at preventing runs as he has been since joining the Phillies late last season continues to be one of the most inexplicably good Phillies stories of the past couple years. Today, Williams worked around eight hits and two walks over 6.2 innings to only give up three runs. He only recorded 2 strikeouts. I can't explain how this continues to happen, and I've yet to come across a compelling explanation, but the march of effectiveness goes on nonetheless.
Most of the scoring in this game came in the first inning. In the top of the first, Jerome Williams walked both Nick Markakis and Kelly Johnson to see both of them eventually score on a two-out single from Jace Peterson. Then, in the bottom half, Ryan Howard hit a homerun off Braves starter Trevor Cahill that scored himself (obviously) as well as Chase Utley and Odubel Herrera.
After that, the game dragged along as both pitchers settled into their boring, non-strikeout-induced, effectiveness. Everyone fell asleep, as one should in the afternoon after a heavy brunch of greasy omelettes and bottomless mimosas. Even the Phillies TV broadcast crew fell asleep. Luckily, for psycho-evaluative purposes, one go-getter was able to harvest footage of Tom McCarthy's daydream:
Just your average day in the broadcast booth. pic.twitter.com/f7WGMeY49K— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 26, 2015
We awoke in the top of the 9th, just as Jonathan Papelbon was entering the game to attempt the save with the Phillies up 5-3. Returning to the team after a couple days off because of migraines/a massive hangover, Papelbon did not make the save look particularly easy or graceful. After a pretty routine groundout to start the inning, Johnny gave up a pretty solid homerun to, who else (just kidding), Alberto Callaspo that cut the Phillies lead to one run.
He got the second out striking out Nick Markakis in a manner that convinced no one that a strikeout was, in fact, the event that had taken place. Seriously, Markakis remained at the plate in either confusion or silent protest as he processed the idea that he struck out. Even the umpires were unconvinced, as they had to pause the game to let the event slowly percolate into the public (sub)consciousness.
With it resolved that a strikeout occurred, Papelbon made some serious moves to let the game slip away as he allowed Andrelton Simmons to single before walking the actually-dangerous Freddie Freeman. The situation was as tense as it could be with all interested parties half-asleep as Kelly Johnson's terrifying visage entered the batter's box. Johnson took the second pitch from Papelbon--a fastball on the outside corner--to deep left field. At first, it looked like it might be a go-ahead dinger. At second, it looked like it would elude Ben Revere's circuitous chase. At third, and lastly, it looked like an out as Revere caught it to end the game.
With that saviest of saves, Papelbon recorded his 329th career save, which moved him into a tie for 14th place all-time. It was his 110th as a Phillie, and he now is two saves away from tying the franchise record of 112 currently held by the esteemed Jose Mesa.
You read it here first: the Phillies won. The Phillies leave with a record of 7-12, tied with the tanking Nationals for first place in the race for last place in the NL East.
Now, get back to sleeping off those mimosas!
Comment of the game:
"If I were sitting behind those dorky mascot wannabes, I’d be pissed."--PhilEase
- Phillippe Aumont got the start for AAA Lehigh Valley today going five shutout innings. He gave up three hits and struck out too. Perhaps most importantly for Aumont, he didn't walk anyone and threw 46 of his 63 pitches for strikes (h/t Greg Joyce, @GJoyce9). I can't say I'm optimistic about Aumont's chances as a starter: we've been down this road before and it ended in spectacular failure. That written, it's not like Aumont was lighting it up as a reliever. Trying something different with him--even if it has been tried and failed before--certainly isn't going to alter the course of the franchise in a meaningful way.
- I was unable to capture a GIF of it, but during the seventh inning stretch, one of these weird poseur mascots accosted a fan by shooting a fan with silly string. The white silly string emerged from the mascot's pelvic area. I don't think you need a GIF to know what that looked like.