There may not be much to look forward to this weekend...
There's a 95% chance the Cubs utterly destroy the Phillies this weekend. A 5% chance the Phillies shock the world. And 0% any other outcome.— Corinne (@crashlandrey) May 27, 2016
...so let's hop back into the past quickly to find something about which to be thrilled.
Tommy Joseph got to start at first base for three straight games in Detriot while Ryan Howard was put on DH duty, a role he used to go 2-for-13 with five strikeouts. Meanwhile, Joseph's first sustained chunk of playing time gave him a chance to actually get comfortable, even if it was just for a couple of days.
In game one against the Tigers, Joseph grabbed onto the 3-3 fifth inning score and tried his damndest to keep it that way by providing defense up the first base line not often seen in red pinstripes.
Despite his efforts, the Tigers got a run past the Phillies, and Joseph stepped to the plate down 4-3 in the top of the sixth and cracked one of his signature line drive home runs that tend to leave the stadium with great haste. Tommy Joseph is doing his part to speed baseball up.
He'd hit another deep line drive earlier in the game, this one to center, that ended in a one-out double. The rest of the lineup surrounded his success with ground-outs, however, making it irrelevant.
Game two saw Joseph knock in the Phillies' only run of the day with a sac fly in the top of the ninth, following a Freddy Galvis double and a Maikel Franco single that looked like it might be a rally of some kind? It wasn't, though; following Joseph's RBI (he also had a single earlier), Ryan Howard grounded out and Chooch swung through a K-Rod offering.
Joseph spent the night utterly bashing at the plate; this just happened to be one of those nights where the defenders were positioned well enough that his hard-struck balls couldn't do any damage.
The next night, the Phillies plated eight runs. Eight! So you know Joseph had to have been a part of that at some point, and he was. The former catcher muscled out a single and then swiped second base while Anibal Sanchez was taking a phone call or something. And then, well. You know.
Tommy Joseph records his first career stolen base on a delayed steal. Howard then strikes out on the next pitch to end the 3rd.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) May 25, 2016
Later in the seventh, he mashed a pitch hard enough to center to get Scott Franzke's voice up an octave, but it fell back to earth before clearing the fence. It was, however, yet another sac fly that scored Freddy Galvis, which served as a reminder - how many times, with Joseph's predecessors at the plate, did we request them to "just get it out of the infield?" For me, it was a lot. We weren't even asking for them not to get out (creating out being their default setting), we were just asking for the ball to get far enough away from the runner at third to allow him to score. Joseph, putting solid lumber on the ball all weekend, was able to do that twice for the Phillies.
In total, Joseph went 4-for-11 with a double, a home run, two sac flies, a stolen base, no walks, and two strikeouts. It wasn't MVP stuff, but that's not really what anybody was looking for. It was, however, enough to keep Joseph in the lineup - and the clean-up spot - as the team takes a deep inward breath and walks into Wrigley Field this afternoon.