There have been so many prolific offensive performances in baseball of late, it is difficult not to look at the Phillies and think, "Ah, crap." Not like, "Ah, crap, I hate this team," but more like a smirking, "Ah, crap, they're trying their best out there."
After seven straight losses, you begin to wonder if scoring a few runs might have helped matters a couple of times. The truth is, they definitely would have. But with this team, that's just not going to happen. On that note, let's take a look at a few of the more stunning offensive displays around baseball and how even just a few years ago, they might have been generated by the Phillies.
Mookie Betts' weird home run disease
Mookie Betts, whom you remember as the center of a Cole Hamels trade with the Red Sox that never happened, was recently committing one of humanity's worst crimes: making Red Sox fans happy. Hitting five home runs in seven at-bats, the 23-year-old briefly broke the sport with his ultra-potent, white hot bat.
Reminded me of: Howard's three-homer game
What always amazes me about this clip is that Howard's Homers came prepared on the off chance that Howard actually hit three home runs that day. Harry Kalas makes a joke about the kid needing a shirt that says "51" on it, and lo and behold, that child came through. I respect the hell out of the foresight, something I cannot claim to have had as a youngling and probably have not developed much of as an adult.
Orioles refuse to stop homering
Fortunately, the Orioles can hit home runs, too. Boston wasn't able to leave Baltimore without getting crunched a few times and losing a few games, saving the nation from a renewed surge of Red Sox fan confidence. Thank, Orioles. You are homering for us all.
Reminded me of: Utley-Howard-Burrell go back-to-back-to-back
Obviously, there's the Utley-Howard back-to-back that gets bonus points for being in the World Series, but there was also a time when three Phillies players had the capacity to hit three in a row.
Utley, Howard and Burrell homered in successive at-bats in the first inning and the Phillies had a season-high 21 hits in a 20-2 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
"I think that definitely got us going, yeah," manager Charlie Manuel said. "If that don't get you going, I don't guess nothing will."
They won that game over the Cardinals, 20-2. The 2016 Phillies have scored 20 runs combined in their last eight games.
Mariners erase ten-run deficit in three innings
Reminded me of: Phillies' big comeback vs. Dodgers
This remains one of my all-time favorite Phillies clips from the 2007-11 era. I was at this game, and I have never felt so sure that a team was going to come back and win, even before the ball went through Casey Blake's legs. Years later, probably in 2012, I was at another game in which the Phillies appeared to be starting a similar comeback, but nothing about it felt genuine. Shane Victorino came up with two outs and a few runners on, and the other team changed pitchers, elongating the at-bat, and after all the build-up, he chopped an ugly grounder right in front of the plate.
I remember turning to my companion, knowing how badly the 2012 Phillies needed to pick up wins like that early on when we all thought they might still win the division, and in my dejected state I said something about being happy that at least the Phillies had tried to come back and win. Which tells you how high the bar was for that club.
Royals score seven runs in ninth inning
Reminded me of: Phillies' late comeback against the Reds
Greg Dobbs sparked the ninth-inning rally with a three-run homer, and Cody Ransom sent the Phillies and their stay-to-the-end fans into a delirious frenzy with a two-run shot that brought them all the way back from a 7-1 deficit.
And when Ryan Howard won it with a two-run homer in the 10th, even the Phillies were stunned.
C.J. Cron double-taps the Tigers
With the Tigers leading and Angels tied at 9, Brad Ausmus sent Mark Lowe to the mound. There, he would face not Mike Trout or Albert Pujols, but the statistically more human C.J. Cron. Cron, already with a home run on the day, ended that blessing in a hurry.
Reminded me of: What this actually reminded me of was John Mayberry tying the game with one strike left in the top of the ninth against the Rockies at Coors Field. The next inning, Shane Victorino hit another won to win it for the Phillies, and I think he did it with his parents watching in the stands or something. Mayberry - not Ryan Howard or Chase Utley - the average bench player got to play the hero, and while he didn't hit both home runs himself like Cron, there were two of them to get the win.
But, that clip doesn't appear to be anywhere I can find it, so here's the one of the Phillies winning on Opening Day 2011.