Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happ-y Happ-y Joy Joy

J.A. Happ. I mean, wow. Just wow. Talk about stepping up when your team needs it the most. I know it was the Braves, but with Kyle Kendrick joining Adam Eaton on the "Please God don't let him pitch" list, the Phils really needed an arm to step in and give them a shot in, well, the arm.

They certainly got it in the form of Happ's left arm. In just his third Major League start, with the pressure truly on considering the Phils slim 1/2 game lead over the Mets and 1 game lead over the Brewers, the 25 year old had the best outing of his brief career, pitching six scoreless innings. The balding lefty surrendered just three hits in those six innings, walking just one while striking out two.

More importantly, he looked calm, cool and collected on the hill—basically the opposite of Kyle Kendrick over the last two months. Much of that could be due to the fact that his offense put up four runs before Happ even tossed his first warm-up pitch. After a Jimmy Rollins groundout to lead off the game, Chase walked. Then Werth walked, and Mr. September continued his bid for the NL MVP with an RBI single to plate Utley.

A steal of third by Werth accompanied by a throwing error by Atlanta's Brian McCann on the steal put the Phils up 2-0. After Burrell took his usual seat after an out, Shaner continued his assault on Atlanta pitching, singling. And to cap things off, scorching hot Curbball Ruiz plated Howard and Victorino (who stole 2nd) with a single up the middle. Just like that Happ had a 4-run cushion and found himself in the batter's box before he stepped foot on the pitching mound.

Happ took it from there, completely controlling every at-bat the Braves had, looking like a young Jamie Moyer on the mound, to pick up his first Major League victory. With the Mets and Brewers also winning last night, it couldn't have come at a better time. It certainly was a Happ-y night for your first place Philadelphia Phillies.

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