Some of us had big plans to put an NFL football game on with the sound off and do other things in our apartment. But the Phillies played, too.
Alec Asher’s story is well known to all. The 24-year-old was waiting for the first opportunity to come to Philadelphia when news broke that he would be included in the Cole Hamels trade. Asher was throwing pretty well at Reading and Lehigh Valley when he accidentally shared an ice cream cone with Daniel Stumpf and wound up with dehydrochlormethyltestosterone in his system. Eighty games and a few rehab starts later, he got to start a baseball game without wearing a fake mustache.
Right out the gate, Asher was tasked with beating the NL East-leading Nationals who were aiming to beat the Phillies for the tenth consecutive time. The Phillies also have been held to one run or less 31 times or less this season; the most that has happened to any team, except for the Brewers. They’d also been held to four hits or less twenty times. So, that probably sucked if Asher was thinking about it while he was warming up.
Fortunately, news had spread quickly about Asher’s development of a two-seamer that had done wonders for his arsenal. So away he went, facing a Nationals lineup that hilariously was coming off an hour-long, rain-less rain delay that eventually went into extras after the game had started again, at which point it had also started to rain. So whether it was his adaptive measures or the Nationals’ being bombed out and depleted, Asher kept a firm grasp on things for six innings, allowing only two hits and a walk with no runs. He didn’t strike anybody out, but he had his outfielders working, attaining plenty of fly ball outs and benefiting from a feelings-shattering Aaron Altherr catch on a deep Bryce Harper ball.
Also helping Asher’s evening was, in a surprise twist, his offense. Peter Bourjos, of all f****** people, hit a solo shot in top of the third. Ryan Howard pulled even with Matt Williams on the all-time home run list at No. 72 with his 378th dinger ever - with two runners on base, no less, giving the Phillies all four of the runs they’d need.
Ryan Howard ties Matt Williams on All-Time HR list in a place that Matt Williams went from Manager of the Year to a complete idiot in 12 mo.— Kevin Cooney (@KevinCooney) September 8, 2016
Daniel Murphy hit a sacrifice fly or something later on. It was dumb.
The lineup wasn’t good, or anything; they struck out a lot. In fact, Altherr whiffed through three at-bats alone, and Washington starter A.J. Cole through 8 K’s with no walks even though he only lasted five innings. Nevertheless, the Phillies broke through against a team that had bested them for the length of what feels like an entire generation. This is baseball; it lasts forever, and eventually, every slump gets busted. This one happened to end with Alec Asher on the mound.
This year, the NFL accidentally scheduled the start of its season with like twenty games left on the MLB calendar. Whoops! I guess we’ll know why their numbers are down after a big Phillies win.