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The past and the future: Phillies 6, Dodgers 2

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Jimmy Rollins returns to Philadelphia on the heels of Alumni Weekend and gets an eyeful of the Phillies' future.

I cannot get enough of Maikel Franco.
I cannot get enough of Maikel Franco.
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

This game was long. But this game was worth it.

Saying it was a non-stop thrill ride wouldn’t just be an over exaggeration, it would be an outright lie. Vast swaths of tonight’s game were either boring or bad. But I have to give it up for the crowd at Citizens Bank Park tonight. They were in it from start to finish. They gave Jimmy Rollins a massive standing ovation at the start of the game.

JIMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!!!!!! That's even better than I could have hoped for. I get chills every time I watch that. And while some fans may have come to see Jimmy Rollins, everyone in attendance got an eyeful of the future.

The defense was called on early and often to mop up after Jerome Williams, who was, in a word, superbad. They were more than up to the task, thank god, bailing Williams out of several bases loaded jams. Williams lasted five innings, and they were hard fought. He allowed seven hits, three walks, and threw 102 pitches. In just five innings. On the plus side, he only gave up one run. The Phillies were tied with the Dodgers in the bottom of the seventh inning, AND THAT’S WHEN EVERYTHING (in this game) CHANGED FOREVER.

Alex Wood, making his Dodgers debut tonight, had pitched six good innings. Looking back, that’s probably where it should have ended. Because nothing good happened to him in the seventh. Carlos Ruiz led off with a single, and moved to second on a ground out. Wood then walked Cesar Hernandez, who at that point was 2-for-2 off him, to bring up Odubel Herrera. There was a base open, so I guess this was a defendable thing to do, but I’m going to bet that Mattingly wants that one back.

Why? Because while delivering a 3-2 pitch, the ball slipped out of Alex Wood’s hand while his arm was still entirely behind him. The ball skipped out to the side of the mound, and while everyone was standing around, including the umpires, Chooch treated the ball like a wild pitch and motored into home plate. It wasn’t until Chooch was 2/3 of the way toward home that the home plate umpire woke up from his slumber and made a call. That call was a balk, and Chooch had to head back to third. But not before a lengthy, thoughtful conversation.

See, I wasn’t being sarcastic! They made the right call after they talked it over! I loved watching that. Watching the umpires actually have a conversation about the play that just happened and how it should be ruled, and then having a further conversation with Pete Mackanin, was so great. Cooperation! Makes it happen!

With the bases loaded, Maikel Franco came to the plate. What happened next, I didn’t think would happen. I didn’t think it could happen. But it did. Like a fairy tale, a glorious thing came to pass.

SERIOUSLY GET A LOAD OF THAT, LOOK AT HOW FAR THAT BALL WAS HIT. THAT BASEBALL IS DEAD, HE KILLED IT, LET'S HAVE A FUNERAL FOR THE BASEBALL THAT DIED A GLORIOUS DEATH AT THE BAT OF MAIKEL FRANCO.

Almost ten years ago. That was Franco’s first career grand slam, and it put the Phillies up 5-1.

It was so nice to see and hear the crowd get into the game. They were amped for Jimmy, and that carried over to everything else. Jimmy tipped his hat twice before he stepped in for his first at bat. They enthusiastically demanded a curtain call after Maikel Franco’s first grand slam. And they nursed Ken Giles through every out in the ninth inning. (And one in the eighth.)

The Phillies keep winning.

It feels like an embarrassment of riches, all this winning. In just 16 games, the Phillies have won 45% of the games it took them 91 games to win before the break. Who are they? Have they been body snatched? Did they all just need a few days off from each other? I don't care. This is fun.