Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Game Report: Phillies vs. Nationals - The Wrath of Condrey

I'm getting on a plane to fly back to Seattle in a few hours, and I've been up all night, and worried I'd be too incoherent to write a real entry, but also figured it couldn't hurt to get some thoughts out about today's game, even if they'll be scatterbrained, since I have nothing better to do to waste time until it's time to get up and get ready and get on a train to the airport. So here's your "Deanna's Really Tired But Wants To Gush About The Phillies" 4am entry:

Short version: Jimmy Rollins scored the first run for the Phillies within the first three batters of the game. David Bell tacked on the second when Sal Fasano hit a big double. Ryan Zimmerman, pride of UVA, homered in the second inning off of Jon Lieber, who came out after two innings due to a strained groin (and has subsequently been placed on the DL). Clay Condrey took over and kicked butt for four innings. Chase Utley hit an amazing triple in the 3rd, though it was wasted because J-Roll, Abreu, and Burrell all struck out that inning. Nick Johnson eked out a run for the Nats in the 4th after a SUPER AWESOME UTLEY-IGNITED DOUBLE PLAY that advanced him to third, and then Condrey shoulda gotten this great pickoff of Marlon Byrd but J-Roll missed the throw and Johnson scored. Condrey got to plow into Soriano for a tag out during a botched stolen base and botched pickoff. It rocked. The Nats never scored again, and Cormier and Fultz handled the scoreless 7th and 8th innings.

With the score 2-2 going into the 6th, Chase Utley literally knocked Nats pitcher Michael O'Connor out of the game by singling off his left shin. The rest of the 6th and 7th innings were bloodbaths. Majewski took over for O'Connor, and a Burrell walk later, Ryan Howard launched a 362-foot home run into the left-field stands again, which gave O'Connor the loss since Utley was his runner. A few singles later the inning ended, and in the 7th, J-Roll led off with a single, giving way to Joey Eischen who walked Utley and Abreu, giving way to Santiago Ramirez, who served up a single to Burrell which scored J-Roll and Utley. Rowand singled in Abreu, and Bell singled in both Shane Victorino, running for Burrell, and Rowand.

Appropriately, Ryan Franklin pitched the 9th inning for the Phillies as they were ahead by nine runs, and also appropriately, the last out of the game was caught by Shane "V for" Victorino, as the Phillies won 11-2.

Anyway, here are random game comments.

- Cole Hamels signed my ticket today! Yay! He's so *young*. I didn't end up telling him the "I came 3000 miles to see you pitch etc etc" thing though.
- I got to meet Greg Roth, who writes the phlog Caught Looking, during Nats batting practice. That was awesome! He's pretty cool. I'm obviously not as involved in the phlogosphere as I am in the Mariners blogland, but it was still cool to put a face to a name after reading his stuff for a while.
- Oh yeah, I stalked roly-poly Matthew LeCroy but failed to get an autograph. I did cheer him when he came up to bat late in the game though.
- It was Dollar Dog Night at the park, which was pretty awesome. This meant that I got three hot dogs and a soda, and the three hot dogs cost $3 and the soda cost $3.50. During the...5th inning I think? The announcer was like "Due to Dollar Dog Night, Citizens Bank Park is suffering a severe shortage of hot dogs. We've left it up to the usual suspects to solve this," as Smiley, the Hatfield Pig, runs onto the field, and the Philly Phanatic chases it around the field wearing a chef's hat and carrying a big fake meat cleaver. It was pretty freaking funny. There were people all over the park showing Dollar Dog competitions between people, and a bunch of guys who had letters on their chest that spelled out "CHEAP$MEAT".
- Screw this heat and humidity crap the stupid east coast is pulling. It went up to 95 degrees here today and felt like it might rain from time to time. I have no idea how I used to survive summers here; I was as sweaty as a Nageotte after just travelling to the stadium, pretty much, and it mostly only got worse until the sun went down.
- I mentioned it before, but Chase Utley's triple was AWESOME, it really was. I thought it might be a home run, it bounced off the wall in right center, and Utley just ran and ran and kept on running. He's so amazing. The double play off Daryle Ward (boooo) in the 4th was also totally Utley -- he ran out to stop the ground ball, got it, quickly gauged the situation and fired the ball to J-Roll at second instead of just shooting it to first, and caught Zimmerman and Ward. Chase Utley rules in so many ways I can't even begin to express it in words.
- Pat Burrell is really not a good outfielder at all. He looked downright awful making some of the plays, including Soriano's double which bounced around him and over him and under him and whatnot. Still, he's probably about equivalent with Ibanez, which means he doesn't really kill the team, especially since anything hard-hit to left field is probably going to be over the damn wall anyway at CBP.
- In the third inning when Pat Burrell came up to bat, I said to my friend, "Burrell's a babe." They showed the super-cute Burrell smile picture up on the screen, and my friend thought that was really funny. Then he struck out. Go figure.
- The Ask the Phillies thing was about favorite foods. There was this awesome clip of it where they have Fasano saying, "Well, you can guess that I like --" and then it cuts to Jon Lieber saying "Italian food." Then it goes back to Fasano who describes some complex sort of ravioli that's his favorite. Heh. Utley likes sushi. Rowand went on and on about some sort of Mexican food he really likes (actually, maybe it was Cory Lidle, now that I think about it, he did mention tamales).
- Speaking of Sal Fasano, I'm really impressed by his fan club, the "Sal's Pals". They were freaking hilarious, getting up to yell "SAL FA-SA-NO" and clapping for each of his at-bats. For Dollar Dog Night, they were all wearing hot dog hats. And they have t-shirts. There's an article about them in the latest Phillies magazine and it's pretty damn funny, talking about how they see him as "the personality and look we've been waiting for since the Krukker", and about how "Philadelphia has a history of great mustaches", and how Fasano himself is like "I love Philly. If I'd known how crazy the fans would be here, I would have tried to live in South Philly instead of New Jersey." (South Philly has a HUGE Italian population, a huge italian market and some of the best food EVER, and the sports complex is in South Philly as well.)
- I bought a set of the postcard-sized Phillies photo cards (they're like big baseball cards). The Charlie Manuel card actually has all of his hitting stats from when he played in Japan in the late 70's. I thought that was awesome.
- Poor Jon Lieber. He was pitching okay, but unable to really field well even from the get-go, when Jose Vidro smacked the ball up the RF line. Ryan Howard dove and missed, Utley actually made the stop, but when he threw to first base, Lieber wasn't there in time and dropped the ball. When Johnson grounded to first next, Ryan Howard got it, looked for Lieber, and then just ran towards the base like "Uh, I'll just take care of this one by myself."
- I was surprised by the pinch-hitting choice in the second inning, because 1) we didn't know what happened to Lieber, 2) MIKE LIEBERTHAL PINCH-HIT WHEEEEE! Yeah, sure, he flew out to center on a hard line drive, but it was good to see Lieby back in the lineup. Not to diss Sal Fasano, because I'd never do that, but I mean, Lieberthal's the only guy on the team who has been playing for the Phillies since I actually *lived* in Philly, and I know his future in baseball is a little iffy at this point.
- Condrey tagging out Soriano was just damn funny. I'm still giggling remembering it.
- The Nats pitchers suck. But the starter, O'Connor, was actually pretty good.
- Actually, who are we kidding? The Nats as a team just plain suck. To be fair, though, they've had more injuries this year than Ryan Franklin has had delusions of grandeur.
- Whose freaking idea was it to put Marlon Anderson and Marlon Byrd on the same team and have them visit Philly? Sheesh. Talk about a boo fest.
- But speaking of boo fests, a really surprising thing was the LACK OF BOOING in general. I think that for once, the Phillies are fielding a team that everyone actually feels like they can cheer for. Except for perhaps David Bell, the starters really are a gang of guys that Philly really gets behind. J-Roll's got the streak, Utley's the awesomest thing on the planet, Bobby's just Bobby, Burrell's been hitting a ton of home runs, Ryan Howard was the ROY, Aaron Rowand's now got "The Catch", Fasano's got the Sal's Pals, and since most of the bullpen except Ryan Franklin has been kickin' butt and taking names, even they're getting good reception.
- Rheal Cormier! Woooo! I was telling my friend, "I have something to say about Cormier, but I'm not going to until he retires the side so I don't jinx him." So he got a 1-2-3 inning finishing in a strikeout, and then I said "Cormier's kicking butt. I would never have expected it from a 39-year-old supposedly-done guy, but hey, that's what lefties do, I guess."
- Cole Hamels was watching the game from the dugout, leaning on the railing for a while with his head on his hands and his elbows on the railing. At one point the Philly Phanatic just flopped down on top of the dugout and put its head on its elbows and mimicked Hamels, who totally didn't notice. It was really cute.

Okay, that's more than just a few comments I guess. Still. I can't believe the total joy I felt in watching the Phillies games yesterday and today. Maybe it's just the return to the childhood glee I used to have attending Phillies games as a kid, or maybe they were just honestly fun games to watch, and the crowd was really into it too. I'm seriously thinking I'll need to come back here for another long weekend this summer; it was sort of like getting to press the "Reset" button on my baseball attention span, since I had recently been getting apathetic about it. I hope the Mariners games get interesting again, and soon.

Also, if the Phillies lose tomorrow's game, it obviously means they were winning these games just for me!

Well, that was fun. Now it's 4:30am and I only have half an hour left until I should go walk to Market East to catch the R1 to the airport. Whoosh!

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