Friday, June 17, 2005

Game Report: Mariners vs. Phillies -- Oh, Billy Wagner, How I Adore Thee

Oh, Billy
We're glad you're a Phillie
Your fastball's like chili
As hot as a stew

Such a great closer
Just like a bulldozer
The "Heat Wave" composer
Can't compare to you.

Before the game, I'd actually commented that if I gambled, I would bet real money on the Phillies winning tonight, because their pitchers (read: Brett Myers) actually know how to strike people out. To their credit, the Phillies pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts in 13 innings, while the Mariners pitchers combined for 6.

The thing is, oddly, it never felt quite like we could tell who was going to win. Infact, as the game dragged on into extra innings, and they left Ryan Madson out there, it almost felt like the Mariners were likely to somehow squeeze a run out of it all. The 9th inning was probably the most gripping thing to watch -- coming into the bottom half, still tied at 2-2, and Ryan Madson on the mound. I'm thinking, "Where's Billy? Why is Madson out there?" And it didn't help that he gave up a single to Morse, who was then promptly sac bunted to 2nd by Rivera. They had Madson walk Ichiro, so now there's 1 out and runners on first and second. Bring up Winn, who bunts, and Lieberthal throws him out at first, but now we've got 2 outs and runners on second and third with Ibanez, the DH, up... and he'd hit a home run in his last at-bat. So they walk him too. Now the bases are loaded, it's tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, two outs... and up comes Richie "Big Sexy" Sexson. Our big bat, our big slugger.

And what does Richie do? He strikes out on three consecutive pitches, two of which were AWFUL.

Well, I was happy, at least, because it meant a) more baseball and b) the Phillies hadn't lost.

The 10th through 13th innings were really sort of bizarre. Jimmy Rollins got on base with a double in the 10th, and the next Phillie to get on base was... Jimmy Rollins with a triple in the 13th. They walked Lofton and Abreu to get to Perez, who hit a sacrifice fly long enough for Jimmy to dash home.

That was all they needed, though -- aside from Randy Winn getting walked in the 12th, no Mariner reached base either during the 10th-13th. And then Billy The Kid came out to pitch, since it was a save situation. He easily struck out Boone, then Willie Baseball came in to pinch hit for Hansen (who had struck out his last three atbats), and he grounded to short. Morse somehow smacked a 99mph ball out to center for a single, but it didn't matter, as Billy struck out Rivera.

Ahh... I'm not sure who's the boyfriend of the day. It's some combination of Jimmy Rollins (5-for-6 with a double, a triple, and two runs scored) and Billy Wagner, just because he left me with no doubt that the Phillies would win once they'd gotten the 3-2 lead.

By the way, I did see one of the strangest plays I've ever seen out there -- in the 7th inning, Chase Utley singled and got bunted to second. Then Mike Lieberthal was up. He struck out, but the last pitch was a bit wild and got away from the catcher -- but Lieberthal didn't immediately start running, so he barely, barely, barely got tagged out at first, 2-3. Well, in the meantime while this hubbub was happening, Utley had started running from second, rounded third, got home, and got tagged out as Sexson relayed the ball back to the plate! It was a 2-3-1 double play. How odd.

And odder still was Dave Hansen's choice of "Vehicle" by the Ides of March as his at-bat song. I guess even odder is that I knew the song because we played it in marching band. (You know what else is weird? I think I've actually grown to LIKE "Chattahoochee", the song that plays when Jeff Nelson comes in.)

By the way, on another note of "wtf" for the Mariners, the giveaway for the evening was "Mariners Trading Cards" -- but it specifically said on the back:

"Each trading card pack starts with 20 DIFFERENT players' cards plus seven cards ALL ALIKE of an additional player. You must trade six of your duplicates away and get the six other cards needed to complete your full set. Have fun and help each other. GOOD LUCK!"

This would have been fine if we'd gotten to the game before, say, 6:50pm, I think, or if we'd had no desire to actually watch the game. There were huge groups of people blocking the walkways in crazy trading card frenzies, but I decided I'd rather watch the game than try to trade cards. My "additional" player was, sadly, Pokey Reese. I seem to be missing Sexson, Ichiro, Matt Thornton, Wilson Valdez, and Aaron Sele (I traded Megan or Josh a Pokey for a Spiezio). I'm just guessing there, since I have some in my set like Madritsch, Reese, etc who obviously aren't playing now.

Personally, I have thousands of baseball cards in my apartment, and I'm really not worried about collecting this particular set.

Anyway, I'm glad I finally got to see my Phillies win. As an aside -- the last two nights I went to the park wearing Phillies shirts and the Phillies lost, and tonight I went wearing a Mariners t-shirt and a Phillies jersey. Well, as soon as I opened the jersey up to reveal the M's t-shirt, the Phillies started really doing well. Maybe I'm just a big jinx or something. Tomorrow night I'll be going to the Mets game with my brother. I'll be cheering for the Mariners; I'm not sure about him.

No comments: