Friday, October 10, 2008

The Chase, the Bat and the Agony

Last night was truly incredible. One of the most exhilarating nights of my life … once the sixth inning rolled. But before Chase Utley quieted the critics and Pat Burrell came up HUGE yet again, last night was nothing but sheer, unadulterated agony.

That game made it abundantly clear to me that I am just not cut out for playoff baseball. Not in the least. My body, my mind, and my heart just cannot take it. As soon as Cole gave up a double to Andre Ethier, I couldn't handle it. I was losing my cool already. And when the Phils elected to pitch to Manny in the first, with one down and a runner on second, I was beside myself—especially when Cole threw a meatball on an 0-1 pitch that Manny crushed to center. Luckily, the ball barely stayed in the park, but just like that, the Phils were down 1-0 and I almost had a brain aneurysm.

Hey Charlie, Cole, Carlos, next time Manny strolls to the plate with a base open and less than two outs (even if there are two outs), walk the guy to set up a double play and make someone else beat you. I know for damn sure there isn't another team in Major League Baseball that would have pitched to Manny in that situation. Manny showed you why.

I was an emotional wreck. If you were anywhere near me, I actually feel bad for you. I realize I am unbearable to watch a playoff baseball game with. And things didn't get any better any time soon.

The Phils didn't make Derek fucking Lowe work at all, and the man did what the man does: force ground ball after ground ball. The most maddening of which came in the 2nd when, after Burrell led things off with a single, Jayson Werth grounded into a double play on god damn 3-1 pitch. I was beside myself. It was truly awful.

The Phils weren't doing shit with the bats as Derek Lowe was just dealing. The guy was on top of his game, no doubt, and Cole, while getting around it, was struggling with his command at times. I honestly couldn't even talk, unless it was the occasional outburst of, "I can't believe they pitched to Manny in the 1st!"

One positive amid all this was the fact we weren't listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Literally minutes after the first pitch—and hearing the words Manny Ramirez approximately 762 times—we turned on 1210, synced up the TV with the radio (thank the Lord for DVR) and listened to some real broadcasters that don't make the game about them.

At one point in the game, they had an interview with Derek Lowe from before the game playing, and I can only imagine the questions went something like this:

"So Derek, you played with Manny Ramirez in Boston. What was your reaction when you got him here?"

"So what's it been like being a teammate of Manny's on two different teams?"

"What did you tell your Dodger teammates to expect when you found out you traded for Manny?"

"How much has Manny helped this clubhouse?"

"If I were a girl, do you think Manny would have sex with me?"

"Manny? Manny? Manny. Manny. Manny. Manny?"

You get the idea. That provided pretty much the only laughs of the night for myself. After the Dodgers manufactured a run in the 4th, and the way Lowe was dealing, I was killing the Phillies for choking, because a loss seemed imminent.

But then something happened. Cole, who was not pitching bad but clearly didn't have his best stuff (or command), turned it up a notch. The Cole from game 1 of the NLDS returned. With a vengeance. His changeup was on, and he had the Dodgers flailing at air. He was not about to let the Dodgers get any more.

And then, the Phils showed signs of life. After Werth and Pedro Feliz both grounded out, Curbball Ruiz got a two-out single. Then so did Cole. Something was a brewing with last year's MVP at the dish. When he failed to come through, I admittedly lost my shit again, blasting Rollins and going off on a long, terrifying rant.

But I was quickly calmed when Cole forced a double play and then another grounder to get through the 6th. Then it happened. The sure-handed Rafael Furcal made a throwing error forced by Shane Victorino's speed. And boy, oh boy did the Phils make the Dodgers pay. On the very next pitch, Chase Utley atoned for all his playoff sins, sending a fastball to the right field seats and tying the baseball game.

As soon as he hit it, I leapt from my couch and exploded toward the TV, as has been customary for me this postseason, and lost my mind. I was yelling, screaming and going nuts. And that was just the beginning. Two batters later, Pat Burrell worked a 3-1 count to his favor, and on that 3-1 pitch, the Bat came up with yet another huge home run, putting the Phils ahead 3-2.

As crazy as it was at Citizens Bank Park, it was equally as crazy in my living room. My annoying roommate walked in the door during this whole deal, on the phone like he always is, and after hanging up, he turned to me and said, "That's crazy. I was on the phone with Megan …"

I stopped him right there and said, "Listen, I don't give a shit about what you're about to say. All I'm focused on is this game right here and nothing that is going on around it, so shut up."

For once in his God-forsaken life, the kid shut the fuck up. That made me happy.

Cole came out in the 7th, went strikeout, strikeout, ground out, and the game was turned over to the bullpens. Cole, after a rough start, was brilliant yet again, going 7 strong, striking out 8 and holding the Dodgers to just two runs. More importantly, he kept the Phils in the game and the Dodgers in the park. Unlike the ground ball guru Lowe, who made two mistakes that the Phillies made him pay for.

It was on to the 8th where Madson was fantastic, and Lidge set them down in order to close out the game. It was a glorious ending to the most painful game I have witnessed in recent memory. Chase awoke from his slumber and Pat continued to show he can get it done, even if people like myself may doubt him.

Now the Phils have a 1-0 lead in the NLCS. Tonight, they have a chance to make it 2-0. LET'S GO BRETT! LET'S GO PHILS!

Note: Why is So Taguchi on this team? Honestly? Is there any reason he should be on this playoff roster? Really, So, you pop up the first pitch on a bunt attempt? You can't even get a God damn bunt down? Why are you here? Someone please explain this to me. Fuck you, So Taguchi. Fuck you in your skinny, old, yellow ass.


  1. Yup, I agree that they probably should have walked Manny, but it also was the first inning with your best pitcher on the mound too, so you can't be too mad about it. Now if they do that later on in the game, then you definitely have a reason to be upset.

  2. It was early, but don't you want anyone else but Manny to beat you? Either way, great game, better result.

  3. Like i Said Yesterday, Charlie is is not thinking the right way on that first inning non intentional walk. Joe Torre must have been saying to himself "This is perfect!! Charlie is getting retarded again." Anytime that situation comes up just walk his ass. Any ground ball will be a double play since Manny Can't/Won't hustle. And I was also pissed off that the announcers spent what felt like 7 innings talking about Manny. FUCK THAT there is a game going on here STOP SUCKING HIS BALLS and talk about anything else.

  4. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver love to fellate Man-Ram. That's why I refused to listen.

  5. This is something thats been bothering me. Everyone keeps talking about how the Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball. I can't concentrate on work in the middle of a pennant race so I did some number checking. Dodgers record since September 1st: 20-8, Phillies record since September first: 20-8. The Dodgers played one series againts a team with a winning record, the 82-80 Diamondbacks. The Phillies played the Mets, Marlins(twice) and Brewers. Granted they did just beat the Cubs, but lets be honest, the Cubs choked. You tell me who the hottest team in baseball is.