Friday, October 03, 2008

Phils Go Up 2-0

We're in the midst of getting a new roof. The primary day of work was yesterday. All day long, loud bangs, thuds, and constant noise.

However, the only time I ever saw my daughters cover their ears, was during my reaction to Shane Victorino's unexpected grand slam in the 2nd inning of last night's 5-2 Phillies' win over the Brewers.

We were in the kitchen -- the game was on in the sunken family room, within view of the dinner table -- and as Victorino made contact, it looked like a routine fly to left. I didn't realize how solid the contact was. Ryan Braun kept going back, and I started to shout, "Get out. GET OUT!"

Once it hit the stands, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead against no-longer-immortal C.C. Sabathia, I did my dorky at-home celebratory maneuver: Hard hand clap, a shout of "Wooooooo", a fist pump, then a "Yes!"

Hey, when you're a Phillies fan living in the Chicago suburbs, in a house with 3 girls, you end up celebrating in understated ways. Plus, it was only the 2nd inning.

After my display, I looked at my daughters (ages 8 and 2), hands over their ears with dazed, confused, and slightly concerned looks on their faces. The way most Americans look after hearing a Sarah Palin quote.

Hopefully, they'll eventually understand what it's like to be a suffering die-hard fan, suddenly staring at a possibility of better things to come. Oops, can't get ahead of myself. All the Phils have done is hold serve. Be nice to wrap this up Saturday night.

The Victorino home run was even appreciated by my wife, who is rooting for the Phillies simply for the fact that would mean me being in a better mood around the house, as after she realized it was him that hit the home run declared, "that's my favorite player! His name reminds me of beef-a-reeno," from the classic Seinfeld episode featuring Rusty, the flatulent horse.

Naturally, the Phillies wouldn't score another run after Vic's blast -- leaving the bases loaded in successive innings -- but were able to hang on for the 5-2 win.

Brett Myers was fantastic on the mound, a huge relief after his last two lousy starts, but it was his at-bat in the 2nd inning that will be remembered most of all.

With a runner on 2nd, and with two outs, Myers strolled to the plate against Sabathia, and everyone in the park -- probably Myers as well -- fully expected a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning.

Myers quickly fell behind 0-2. Then a slider missed. Myers then fouled off a 1-2 pitch, which drew a few "wow, you actually made contact" sympathy applause from the crowd.

Sabathia tried another slider, only this one dropped to the dirt, and Myers didn't offer. Suddenly it's a 2-2 count. Crowd starts to sense that C.C. is having some trouble putting away a guy that had just six hits in his last 127 at-bats.

C.C. tries to blow Myers away on the next pitch with a fastball, but Myers fouls it off. Now, the crowd is into it.

After failing to get Myers with the slider and the fastball, Sabathia tries the changeup, but it misses the plate, and Myers watches it for ball three.

All of a sudden, Myers is one pitch away from extending the inning, bringing up Rollins with two-on and two-out in a 1-1 game.

If nothing else, he was forcing C.C. to throw more pitches. After all, he was making his 4th straight start on short rest.

Payoff pitch, a fastball fouled off. Crowd on their feet, waving their towels, and getting into C.C.'s head.

One more try at a fastball from Sabathia, and it just missed the plate. Myers jumps out of the box on his way to first, while the crowd, already standing and cheering, erupt even more as they realized how valuable that at-bat was.

After C.C. continued to struggle with his control -- walking Rollins next -- Victorino came up and launched a big fly that will go into the annuls of top Phillies moments of all time.

Without the instant classic at-bat by Myers, it would have never happened.

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